Monday, March 17, 2008

Twitterrific For iPhone Unlikely

I'm not big into social networking sites, but Twitter holds a special place in my heart. If I could have any application for my iPhone, the thing I want almost as badly as AIM would be an iPhone version of Twitterrific. Unfortunately, Iconfactory feels that it's unlikely to work. According to Craig Hockenberry of Iconfactory, the makers of Twitterrific. A constantly refreshing Twitter client could kill an iPhone's battery in 4 hours.

In a recent blog post, Craig explains why using a background service to access web-based information can kill the iPhone's battery. Using a prototype version of Twitterrific on the iPhone, allowing the application to automatically refresh every 5 minutes caused the iPhone's battery to almost completely drain after only four hours.

The heart of the problem are the radios. Both the EDGE and Wi-Fi transceivers have significant power requirements. Whenever that hardware is on, your battery life is going to suck. My 5 minute refresh kept the hardware on and used up a lot of precious power.

He goes on to explain how terrible things could get if backgrounding was available to all applications.

What happens when App A uses the network at 5 minutes past the hour, and App B uses it at 10 minutes past, and App C uses it at 15 minutes past, and so on? There’s no way for you to know what other apps are doing is there? And yet the battery is still taking a pounding.

Craig makes an excellent point and feels that APple has done this to keep developers from "collectively shooting ourselves in the feet". A solution for this may be a plugin or service that allows applications to use networking resources at certain times.

It will be interesting to see how AOL handles this hurdle with its AIM client.

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