A typical practice on WinBeta is to highlight new and existing apps available for the Windows 8.1 platform. Back in December, we brought you Tweetium - a fantastic, beautiful and slick Twitter app for Windows. In just a few months, Tweetium has reached version 2.1.x, adding a plethora of fixes and new feature additions based on consumer feedback. The Windows Store is lucky to have Tweetium and I will go over why.
If you are not familiar with the app, it is a premium app that offers you a modern Twitter experience on your Windows 8.1 or Windows RT device. If you are a heavy Twitter user (who isn't these days?) then this app is a must-have. In fact, I personally have been using this app since its launch and I love it!
"Tweetium is the premium Windows 8 Twitter client you've been waiting for. It's slick. It's fast. It's been designed with ample feedback from serious Twitter users, with the goal of helping you get the most out of Twitter on Windows desktops, laptops, and tablets. Your purchase gets you the fully featured app with support for using one Twitter account at a time. You can now also purchase Tweetium Pro from within the app, which enables support for up to 5 accounts," the app description reads. Here are the key features of this app:
- Modern flow layout combines the best of information density and rich media
- Flexible design adjusts to portrait, snap, and everything in-between
- Smart streaming-based feed with robust connectivity and suspend/resume handling. No more manual refreshing!
- Post new tweets with fast username auto-complete.
- Photo upload support - including pasting image data and files directly into the tweet composer!
- View lists you've created and subscribed to, and pin favorites to the navigation bar for easy access.
- Search for users and tweets, and pin your favorite searches and hashtags
- Rich embedding of several third-party media types
- Powerful conversation and DM support with a rich, real-time updating conversation view.
- Multi-window support - Open multiple full instances, or break out specific tabs.
- Over a dozen color schemes, choose your favorite!
- Automatic roaming of color scheme, pinned lists, and read states.
- Live tile lets you know about new mentions and DMs, and can cycle from your timeline or a pinned list
- Full integration with the Share charm for sharing to and from Tweetium
- Quickly jump to your last seen tweet for your timeline, lists, or searches.
- Multiple account support! (Requires additional Pro purchase)
- TweetMarker support! (Require additional Pro purchase)
So now that you are familiar with Tweetium and its features, lets dive into why this app is so damn good. First, let me introduce you to the app's developer: Brandon Paddock. For nearly eight years, Brandon worked at Microsoft as a software developer. He was also on the Windows User Experience team, responsible for building the Search experience and parts of the app model for Windows 8. Last year, Brandon started his own little company and has been developing apps such as Newseen and Tweetium. Brandon has been pushing out updates and feature additions to the Tweetium app on a constant basis, sometimes releasing three to four updates in just one week! What other app receives this much love?
In an interview with Brandon, we asked him how he felt about the reception of Tweetium, which has managed to snag over 100 reviews in the Windows Store, with the majority of reviews being five stars.
"The reception has been phenomenal. I actually started this project one afternoon last fall when I got frustrated with the official Twitter app. I was never a fan of its design, but what really bugged me was the poor performance and reliability it exhibited. I work a lot from cafes around town where WiFi connections can be flakey, and it could not deal with that at all. One example: it would let you think you sent off a tweet, but really it disappeared into the ether because you were momentarily offline. No feedback at all that anything had gone wrong. I had similar problems with the other offerings I tried, so as an experiment I decided to see if I could take a few days and throw together something better. Since I’d already built Twitter integration into my news app Newseen, I already had some of the code to get me started," Brandon stated.
"So I set about my challenge, and I actually tweeted the experience. In fact, I posted the first screenshot just a few hours into working on it, when I had the basic view up and running over the Stream API. On day 2 I added the ability to compose tweets. Then I was out of town for a bit and didn’t get back to it until a couple weeks later when I added the initial conversation view and some media embedding, tweeting pictures as I brought features online," he added.
"If I hadn’t tweeted those initial screenshots, I don’t know if Tweetium would exist today. But I got so much interest from followers that I was motivated to keep working on it, and ended up sharing a beta build with several people about a week later. You can actually look at the history of that by searching for #TweetiumBeta on Twitter. There were some gaps where I wasn’t able to work on it for a couple weeks or a month at a time, but in late November I got back to it and started driving toward the 1.0 release which came in early-mid December. The initial reception was great, and the support I got from some of the smaller Windows and Surface enthusiasts sites made it the most successful app launch I’ve had."
So far, Tweetium has managed to snag over 4,000 total downloads and roughly 50% of those downloads have turned into purchases. "I’m deeply grateful for all the support that community is giving the app. I was actually quite shocked at the magnitude of it," Brandon mentioned.
So what makes Tweetium so great? Well, for one, the developer has been pushing out app updates like crazy. In fact, we seem to average roughly three to four app updates a week, with each app update offering something new and exciting. Secondly, this app is beautifully designed and has a developer who is enthusiastic about making it better. And finally, Brandon is actively listening to a feedback thread on UserVoice - adding new features to the app based on what consumers want! Brandon is actively seen on Twitter where he even responds to feature requests and other questions, while developing the app. How cool is that?
Unfortunately, Brandon has not paid for any type of advertising or marketing for his app - a process that doesn't come cheap. He simply created the app and submitted it to the Windows Store and various sites, including WinBeta, have highlighted the app which have resulted in a download boost.
"I consider the numbers to be pretty good for a paid app in a relatively small (though growing) marketplace, particularly for an app with, so far, zero marketing budget and without having been featured by the store at all. In fact, I haven’t had any attention from the Windows Store folks, such as any spotlighting or other marketing support, for any of my apps. It’s interesting to see some of the choices they make in what to spotlight (or categories where they barely seem to bother). I suspect there’s room for improvement in how they manage that. I know that Microsoft does engage with some smaller developers to promote their apps, but I’ve yet to figure out how they choose where to focus that attention," Brandon stated.
Brandon plans on adding as many features as he can from the UserVoice feedback site and he is considering creating a Windows Phone version of the app, once Windows Phone 8.1 rolls out. "While I haven’t committed to anything just yet, I will say that if I do pursue a phone version, it will almost certainly be targeting that upcoming version of the platform," he explained.
Let's help Brandon out. Head over to his Tweetium website to check out the app and head over to the UserVoice feedback site to add your feature requests. Let's also give Brandon a round of applause for surpassing Microsoft's Windows Store vision. Brandon has gone above and beyond with his Tweetium app and he deserves the recognition.
Hey Microsoft, if you are listening, its time to highlight Tweetium in the Windows Store and not that crappy official Twitter app that hasn't been updated in a while. The Windows Store is lucky to have an app like this. Now if only more apps in the Windows Store were treated with constant updates and quality feature additions.