Twitter launches new BlackBerry app, updates TweetDeck and acquires video start-up

Twitter launches new Blackberry app and buys video start-up VineSometimes owning a Blackberry can make you feel like a second class smartphone citizen. While the rest of the world (okay, Android and Apple) whiz along with their new apps there is not a great deal happening in the Blackberry App store.

One bright spot is that the social apps for Blackberry in Facebook and Twitter have always been good and now they are getting better. Not just improvements on the mobile front  there is a new version of TweetDeck too.

At the same time it is being reported that Twitter has acquired video-sharing start-up Vine.

According to AllThingsD the move looks like one of those deals dubbed “acqhire”, where a company buys a start-up to acquire the team behind it. Although an update to its story says that Vine could continue as a going concern under Twitter:

“Vine is a three-man company, based in New York, which formed in June. It has yet to launch publicly. (Update: Maybe not a garden-variety acqhire, we’re told. For instance, there’s a possibility that Vine could still live as a standalone service.) Twitter declined to comment.

Vine’s landing page describes it as “the best way to capture and share video on your iPhone”, specializing in very short clips — a few seconds apiece.

It’s different than the slew of other video apps currently on the market. Usually when you shoot with your smartphone, the camera captures one continuous shot. Vine allows for punctuated recording. Grab a few quick snips of video, and Vine auto-generates a longer cut stitched from those shots. It’s a novel idea, and hones in on the sweet spot of our ever-dwindling attention spans,” according to AllThingsD.

The deal echoes Twitter’s acquisition in March of blogging and sharing platform Posterous, which was once seen as a competitor to the now mighty Tumblr.

Posterous was closed down after its acquisition and the team behind it went to work at Twitter towers.

On the Blackberry front Twitter has unveiled a new  version of Twitter for BlackBerry from the App World. It brings some of the changes wave seen introduced on Twitter.com such as expanded tweets from news organisations as you can see in this one from CNN.

Brian Frank, mobile product manager, at Twitter, said: “Now when you expand a Twitter rolls releases new Blackberry appTweet to see the details view, you can enjoy article summaries from websites like CNN or beautiful photos from sites like National Geographic. And you’ll see contacts from your Device Address Book who are on Twitter, making it easier to find your friends.

“Soon, we’ll change the way expanded Tweets display photos in our BlackBerry app, bringing you a faster and overall better experience. You’ll need to upgrade older versions to Twitter for BlackBerry 3.2 to continue seeing a full photo preview inside a Tweet.”

New Tweet Deck

Twitter has also rolled out an update to  TweetDeck that makes it easier to use with design enhancements, personalisation options and the addition of several frequently-requested features.

Choose your theme

The traditional dark background of TweetDeck is clearer and cleaner, while maintaining the classic TweetDeck look.

Twitter says it has also added a lighter theme — a brand new colour scheme that offers dark text on a light background — that is certainly a welcome change.

You can easily switch themes by clicking on the theme indicator on the top toolbar.

Change your font

Also new is the ability to change the size of the font used to display Tweets. On the General tab in the Settings pane, you can select Small (13pt), Medium (14pt) or Large (15pt) font sizes.

A year of improvements

Last December, Twitter launched a new version of TweetDeck on a framework that helps it develop new features and integrate your feedback. Since the start of the year it has been making continued improvements to the TweetDeck apps. Here are just some of the highlights:

1. Swifter navigation – Including the new column navigator and trackpad scrolling, enabling faster navigation and easier column reordering.

2. List management - Manage all aspects of your Twitter lists directly in the app.

3. Profile improvements - New Profile design, including support for header photos and an indicator when a user follows you.

4. Improved web support – Enhanced the performance of web.tweetdeck.com and added support for Firefox and Opera.

5. Deeper discovery and engagement – Gain more insight via the Interactions and Activity columns. Take action on Tweets wherever they appear in the app.