Why did RIM ship the PlayBook without an official Twitter app? I dont know and this move has made others wonder too. There is a Twitter icon shipped with the tablet but it is simply a link to open the Twitter site on the PlayBooks browser. Nevertheless, people often never use the stock app. There are a few Twitter apps for the PlayBook but none of them are as good as Blaq,В or so I hear until I decided to try it out myself. I played around with a few free Twitter apps but none of them felt finish. There was always something missing. Since Blaq had the highest ratings out of all the Twitter apps, I bought it. Its available on the App World for $1.99. Is it worth it? Lets find out.
First off, Ive downloaded Tweedless and Lemma. Both are free Twitter clients on the App World and both are good for free apps. One of my biggest complaints about these apps is the inability to upload images. Blaq solves this problem. Not only can you upload images with Blaq, but you can also add multiple accounts, enable native notifications, and enable URL shortening. The last one is especially important since Tweedless does not support it. That can be an issue when you only have 140 characters to post. You can also direct message someone, search hashtags, and view lists. Before I go on, let me say Im just a casual Twitter user(for now). I did find the ability to create lists missing.
The UI of Blaq is nice. I love how the app looks. You have your main timeline on the left side, a quick post box on the top right, and your standard navigation menus on the right bar. Theres an empty space under the post box but it seems to be put there on purpose. It shows half of the Blaqs logo and it looks quite nice. When you click on a tweet, it pops up on a bigger window and gives you the option to reply, retweet, favorite, direct message, and other option like translate. If you want to view more tweets from the user, you have to click on the tweet count. If you want to view the followers, or see who the person is following, you have to click on their followers/following count respectively. This has been a bit cumbersome as there is no border or indication that these values are even clickable. I had to view the help topic to find this out. From here, you can quickly post a tweet by swiping the window down or close it by swiping it to the right.
This is where things get iffy. Sometimes, it would lag and suffer from performance issues. This makes clicking on the tweet counter more frustrating. Also, the timeline does not scroll as smoothly as it should. Its not up to the PlayBooks speed. This is more evident when you are viewing searched timelines. Things that seem like theyre links, such as the bright green @username text, isnt. You would think that it would take you to that users profile but in doesnt. Another issue I have is the previews. Images and webpages are embedded when you click on a tweet. This makes it convenient to stay in the app when a tweet includes an image or a webpage. Sometimes, links/images would load flawlessly but once in a while, it will glitch out and flicker in a white box. I dont have a problem clicking on the link and opening it on the browser but this feature needs to be fixed or shelved until its stable.
Blaq is a good Twitter client. The developers did a great job adhering to the black theme which is executed well. In terms of the function vs form concept, Blaq leans more towards form. A few UI tweaks will make this a perfect app. Swiping windows to the right seems to conflict with the PlayBooks core function of swiping up to close. A little x would go a long way. Another feature I found missing was the ability to view albums like the web version. We dont normally associate white text as links. Having the profiles green text clickable and a border around tweet counts would make more sense for users to pick up and use. Overall, Blaq is the best Twitter client so far on the PlayBook. Some people would scoff at the idea of paying money for a Twitter app but since most of us got the PlayBook for $199, that leaves us $200 or so to spend on apps. I do believe in spending money on good apps and the $2 price tag on Blaq is justified. As long as the developers continue to update the app, Blaq will continue to be THE Twitter client to have. While were on the subject, follow us on Twitter @set_sar and @lenftw. I find myself using Twitter more with Blaq!
Blaq for BlackBerry PlayBook
Blaq is the best Twitter app currently on the PlayBook. It features complete timelines, URL shortening, image uploads, hashtag searches, multiple accounts, and the core Twitter functions. While Blaq earns a very high 4.5 stars on the App World, it gets 3.5 from us. 1 star deducted for performance, and half a star for missing features, minor UI issues, and an embed bug. Dont let our critiques sway you away. This sexy client is worth the 2 bucks. Verdict: Buy.