Wrist Tweets – a Twitter notifier for the Sony LiveView

Some gadget fetishism got the better of me recently, and I decided to pick up a Sony LiveView. It’s like a watch (“microdisplay”) that syncs with your Android phone via Bluetooth and can provide notifications, remotely control the music player etc. Although it has it’s frustrating moments, it’s fun little device, and I like the simple clean design.

Wrist Tweets screenshot

It comes with a bunch of handy default notification plugins: text messages, missed calls, calendar notifications, Facebook status update notifications, RSS feeds etc. There is also a Twitter plugin provided by Sony, but I felt it was a little substandard and didn’t really meet my needs. So, I decided to write Wrist Tweets – my own personal version of what the stock LiveView Twitter plugin should have been.

Wrist Tweet supports:

  • Timeline notifications
  • Mention/@reply notifications
  • Direct message notifications
  • Opening the first URL in a tweet on your phone
  • Authentication via OAuth – no locally stored password
  • A choice of sensible update frequencies, from 1 minute up to 6 hours
  • Notifications of tweets on a Twitter “list”

Wrist Tweets Preferences screenshot 1

For me, that last one, support for a following a Twitter list, is the killer feature. It allows me to make a custom Twitter list with any accounts that I really want to get important notifications from, and receive a timely buzz on my watch when they update.

The LiveView is a great concept, but sadly it’s a buggy product. Sony has released a firmware update for the microdisplay device, and an update of the LiveView Manager software for Android, but in my hands neither of these fixed the persistent loss-of-connection problems when paired with my Dell Streak. The claim it works just fine with Sony Xperia phones, but I’m skeptical. Wrist Tweets endeavors to combat some of these shortcomings by (optionally) checking Twitter for updates each time the LiveView is reconnected to your phone. This way, even if you miss a notification because the connection dropped out, after pressing the ‘action button’ to reconnect, the missed updates should come through. Also, if your network connection is down, Wrist Tweets will ignore the usual update frequency and keep trying to grab updates each minute until it can connect – this slightly aggressive polling should have little to no effect on bandwidth (after all, the network is down), but it will hopefully ensure you see important tweets as soon as the network becomes available.

One thing Wrist Tweets currently doesn’t support is multiple accounts, since it’s not something I really need myself at this stage. If there is demand, I’ll probably add it, but no promises. Despite this, I believe it’s probably this best Twitter plugin for LiveView out there at the moment … but hey, I’m biased :)

Wrist Tweets is available now on the Android Market for around US$2. So if two people buy it, it will get me a cup of coffee. Yay caffeine !

WristTweets was built using JTwitter, a sweet-ass LGPL licenced Twitter library for Java.

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