It’s been a while since I first got my hands on this app, it quickly became my weapon of choice for twitter, and I’ve been meaning to give it a review for too long. So, what better time than any since it’s just had a massive update. In fact, ‘massive update’ probably doesn’t even come close to the improvements that SuperinhumanIndustries have brought to the fray with this version release.
Bad Kitty, for those unfamiliar, is a client for the social networking website Twitter. It prides itself on being different, boasts a unique interface and strives to provide you with a seamless and pleasurable twitter experience.
I’ll start off by talking about some new features. One of the complaints I used to hear about Bad Kitty in general, was the marmite-like UI. I personally found it different (in a good way), and I must admit it did take some time to get used to; the user avatars were at the bottom of each tweet making it hard to distinguish whose tweet belonged to whom and lots of buttons on the main timeline which did, I agree, make stuff look a bit busy. However, this is all a thing of the past. The biggest, and most notable change you’ll notice after updating this app, is that it now carries an array of themes, 4 in total. These are:
The addition of themes really does give the app an extra dimension, and out of the ones on offer I’m sure that you’ll find one to suit your tastes. Of course you can’t please all of the people all the time (I, and others would like a truly dark theme) but I’m personally pretty happy with the KIT-9 theme anyway. The new UI design of the home timeline is clear and concise and is much easier to read.
The tweet details scene has had such a major overhaul that I can’t even remember what it was like before. Immediately after tapping a tweet you’ll be taken to the tweet details (unless you have the Quick Menu option active, I’ll come back to that in a bit) and the tweet will be situated at the top. At the top right corner is a ‘profile’ button so that you can quickly go and view that person’s profile page. Underneath the tweet will show a thumbnail of any twitpic, img.ly, plixi etc picture attachment that there may be, which you can also tap on to view a larger size. As a new feature in 1.5 you can elect to save the photo or set it as a wallpaper, and there is now rotation support included as well. Below the images (if there are any) will be the conversation string (again, if there is one) and you can quickly scroll down through the entire conversation in one screen. You can also tap on each individual tweet in the conversation string if it contains a URL or a twitpic that you want to get at. Swiping backward on the gesture area, as familiar throughout webOS, will allow you to go back a stage.
Another major change here is the introduction of a bottom row of action icons. This is also a scrollable/ribbon type format that you can drag right to reveal more actions. Reply, Retweet, Favourite, Direct Message, Delete, Copy text, Copy URL, Email text, Email URL. This is a pretty comprehensive set of actions, I’m sure you’ll agree. New to this version is the ability to perform an official retweet as well as an old school edited retweet. Additionally, we’re now able to delete a tweet which is a very welcome feature for me, as I always found myself having to visit another app to perform this task. Copy and Email actions have also been added and will please those who’ve wanted share features in this app.
The whole UI within the tweet details is, in a nutshell, fantastic, functional and fast.
A brand new addition is the implementation of the ‘reply to all’ feature. When you hit reply you’ll be greeted by a new screen with a row of all the names and avatars of the people you’re replying to, simply tap a name to add and tap again if you want to remove. I really can’t stress enough about how well this has been implemented, I frequently need to @ reply more than one person, and I think the developers have created something really unique here.
App to app integration
This is something I love to see with apps, a lot has gone in to this to increase functionality and enhance the user experience.
Foursquare support is in testing to enable you to launch the Foursquare app (made by the awesome Geoffrey Gauchet aka @Zhephree) or the browser version of the site whenever one of the people you are following checks-in. For me, this is great as a lot of the time people check-in with Foursquare and I haven’t a clue where the place is. Plus if you’ve only recently started following the person it’s a great way to be able to quickly load up Foursquare and add them as a friend.
As well as Foursquare support, Bad Kitty has the ability to launch the phone application when a phone number is included in a tweet. Not sure when I’ll personally ever use this but it may come in handy if someone tweets me a number for a business for instance.
To further elaborate on the app to app interoperability here, I’d also like to give a mention to two pretty cool parameters that have been written in to the 1.5 update. These are the ability to launch Bad Kitty directly to a specific profile from another app, for example the Foursquare app already has this implementation. Secondly a parameter has been added to enable Bad Kitty to be launched to the ‘New Tweet’ creation scene from within another app and with the selection of text copied and carried over. I strongly urge developers, be it of news apps, social networking apps etc, to take note of these additions, as these kind of sharing functions and interoperability are what define and enhance our mobile OS experience. I’d really like to see these functions coded in to and supported by as many apps as possible.
Another great feature that is in the process of being added is geo-tagging your location. This is enabled in the Preferences, however you also need to make sure your location sharing is enabled from the ‘Settings’ section on the main twitter web site. This works great, and is easy to spot on your timeline when someone has their location linked by the little pin marker. The location is displayed in the tweet details scene and throughout the conversation string.
You can enable this option within the preferences, and essentially what it gives you is quick access to the tweet actions without having to go in to the tweet details scene. I’m on the fence about this one, I personally like to go in to the tweet details scene, but others may find the quick menu works for them. Of course, you can still get in to the tweet details by hitting ‘more’ from the quick menu but that’s just an extra step to take for me. It’s great to have the option though and I think it’s a good addition to the app.
Search/Trends & Lists
The 1.5 update brings the addition of trends within the search screen, for those wanting to view what’s currently the hot, but mostly mundane, trends on twitter. The main overview screen has been given a cleaner UI overhaul, squashing the original vertically orientated layout of the UI, we are now greeted with a fresher, more familiar, horizontal look.
List support shows your created lists and the ones in which you are followed by. Tapping on one of these of course will enter the timeline of said list. Recently I stumbled across a tweet from @webosinternals that highlighted something which is missing, from not only this twitter app, but all webOS twitter apps it seems, and that is the ability to add/manage new lists directly from the device. Hopefully this is something that the developer can add as I think it’d be a nice feature and perhaps make me want to use lists more.
Image hosting & URL shortening services
New options for these have been added to the preferences scene, so you’re now able to choose between image hosting sites twitpic, img.ly, plixi (formerly tweetphoto) and yfrog. That pretty much covers the all the main hosting sites that you’ll come across. URL shortening services are: is.gd, bit.ly and j.mp. Both bit.ly and j.mp will allow you to enter your personal account details so your shortened links will be stored in your account for re-use. The real beauty of Bad Kitty shines through when URL shortening, you simply just paste whatever link it is that you want shortened in to your tweet and as soon as you hit space, the URL will be automatically shortened. I really, really love the kind of forward thinking attitude that this app has; time saving and simplistic. One tiny niggle with this is if you don’t want a link shortened (for the purpose of displaying the complete URL to your followers) is that as soon as you hit space anywhere within your tweet it’ll shorten, however I’ve been told that this is already something that is on the to-do list and will be rectified. I can personally envisage more webOS-style attitude being stamped on this, and make it akin to when a word auto-corrects whilst typing, you can hit backspace and it’ll return to the original word.
One the thing that makes this the most pleasurable and easy to use webOS twitter client out there for me is ‘Just type to tweet‘. Whenever you’re at your account overview screen or viewing your main timeline you can literally just start typing away to start a new tweet. Also a great little hidden function if you need to find a user’s profile quickly, is to just start typing eg. @username and you’ll find the ‘Tweet’ button at the bottom of the screen will automatically change to ‘User Profile’. It’s such a fast and efficient way to quickly view (or double check the correct spelling of) a username before a tweet and I frequently find myself using this. The whole just type to tweet thing is so in-tune with the overall forward thinking thought-process behind webOS, and the beauty of the physical keyboard in general – open it out and start typing away to do what you want or get to where you want to go to.
With this update, the app has been so fine tuned and streamlined you just wouldn’t believe. It is ridiculously fast now, I mean it was fairly fast before, but this is one of if not THE fastest webOS twitter client out there. The developers have put a serious amount of time and work in to making it the way it feels now, and for that I take my virtual hat off. Scrolling through the timeline and navigating through the app is as fast as you could ever expect it to be (with the current hardware). Stunning.
Bad Kitty also provides dashboard notifications, which you can configure in the preferences screen and choose from a selection of update intervals. It will also update in the background without the card needing to be open. One thing I especially love about Bad Kitty which sets it apart from any other webOS twitter app is the brief preview of the tweet content when you receive a notification. It’s great to instantly know who’s tweeted you. Improvements I would like to see in this area is perhaps a way of adding automatic side scrolling of the notification so you can view all of the tweet, and if there is more than one tweet notification, a way to cycle through them.
I’ve just got to get a sneaky mention in for the refresh feature in Bad Kitty, because it is just that awesome. A short forward swipe on the gesture will refresh the timeline your looking at, and in my book this just feels the most natural way to invoke this action.
This is without a doubt, a stunning twitter client which has been made with a lot of thought, skill and due care and attention. The latest 1.5 update has brought so many needed and requested features, along with a lot of stunning and unexpected new ones. Jeremy Thomas (aka @germboy) is one of the most responsive and attentive developers I have known on any platform. He is continuing to add and listen to new feature requests so frequently and this app is simply going from strength to strength practically on a daily basis. Additionally, the new look that Hal Saville (aka @digihal) has designed for Bad Kitty, has totally brought this app forward and they way he’s created and implemented the new reply to all feature, in my eyes, is pure genius. Bad Kitty has a new lease of life and a now thankfully a much wider appeal because of it, which I’m personally ecstatic about as I feel any former doubters of this client should now go and buy it, try it, and love it for themselves.
- Super fast
- Integrated type-to-tweet technology
- Gorgeous UI
- Foursquare app support
- Parameter support so apps can launch Bad Kitty for sharing functions & more
- Multiple account support for those that need it
- The niggle with automatic URL shortening
- Dark styled theme
- On-device list management support
- Ability to view Retweets
- Notification/dashboard tweaks
Available in the App Catalog for $1.99 US | £1.59 UK | €1.98 EU