The long awaited version 2.0 of the iPhone app Boxcar was just released. I had been using the previous version of Boxcar to get push notifications for mentions and DMs on Twitter. However, version 2.0 adds push alerts for a bunch more services.
Boxcar ($2.99 – iTunes link) now provides push notifications for multiple Twitter accounts, Twitter Trends, Twitter Searches, Facebook and Email. However, using push for each of those services is going to cost you.
Beyond the base price of $2.99 for the app, you have to pay $0.99 for each additional service that you add to your Boxcar account. The app comes with one service for free but any you add on top of that such as Facebook or Email will cost you $0.99. Adding additional services was easy as the purchase happens smoothly right inside the app.
While some may be turned off by these prices, I think they are very reasonable. First, they are one time fees so no need to worry about recurring expenses. In addition, it will save on SMS messages if you are currently setup to receive them for Twitter messages or Facebook notifications. Unfortunately, some services require an additional fee for each instance. For the search service for example, it will cost you $0.99 per search. The same thing for additional email and Twitter accounts.
As far as the individual services, setup was pretty straightforward. All services allow you to set individual sounds for each service as well as an option to show badge updates. For Twitter, Facebook and email notifications you also have the option to show Private Alerts (generic alert that doesn’t reveal the contents of the message). What’s especially useful is that you can designate the default app to open for Twitter and Facebook alerts when a push alert is selected.
Boxcar polls both Facebook and Twitter every 2 minutes to see if you have any new alerts. As far as email, push notifications are executed by setting up forwarding on the account you would liked pushed to a special email that Boxcar gives you. Although privacy may be a concern, Boxcar makes it clear that only the sender and subject of the email are stored by Boxcar and pushed to your phone.
In my opinion, the killer feature is push alerts for Twitter search. If you monitor specific keywords or topics on Twitter, this will be a necessity to have in order to keep up with what’s going on while you are away from your desk. However as I mentioned above, make sure you choose your searches wisely as each additional search will cost you $0.99 (existing searches can be changed at anytime with no additional fees).
All in all, I’m very pleased with this app and it’s price. I was a big fan of this app before this version so I’m only more pleased to have push notifications for more services. However, I do wish that Apple’s mail app as well as Facebook offered native push alerts. I’m sure in time it will come but until then, this is a great alternative.