Earlier this week, Twitter took the Android world by storm with the release of an officially branded Twitter app. Though the Android Market is flooded with 3rd party Twitter apps, the official app promises to change the way we think of mobile tweeting, and it delivers. Because most Twitter applications offer the same basic functionality, I will not be covering the essentials and will instead focus on where Twitter sets itself apart. I promise you, Twitter does not disappoint on the basic features either.
A caveat before you get too deep into this review; the official Twitter app is only available on Android 2.1. This is good news for all you Nexus One owners, as well as those lucky enough to have seen their phone receive the official 2.1 update. For this review, I am using a T-Mobile myTouch 3G running an Android 2.1 ROM.
Right off the bat, the Twitter App is very pleasing on the eyes. Animated clouds float by both the top and the bottom of the screen, along with an animated bird. It is here at the main screen that we find the first innovative feature, live trends that appear as conversation bubbles along the bottom of the screen. Tapping one of these bubbles takes you to the latest tweets on that topic. The main menu has all the major features conveniently laid out, giving quick access to all the features you could hope to use.
Another new feature we have yet to see in other Twitter apps is the “map this tweet” feature. This allows you to map the latest tweets in your timeline assuming the tweeters make their location public (defaulted in the Twitter app). In my opinion, this is a cool new way to use Twitter and it’s always interesting to see where others are in relation to ourselves.
For those familiar with the Facebook widget, Twitter apparently had the same person work on their widget, as they look almost identical, and offer much of the same functionality. You can use left and right arrows to scroll through recent tweets, update your status, or click on the big ‘T’ to launch the application.
What’s really cool about the official Twitter app is its tight integration with the Android platform. Contacts on Twitter can be synced with your contacts, allowing you to view your friends’ status updates directly from your contact list. I liked this feature when the Facebook app introduced it, I still like it with Twitter (although I have far fewer real-life friends who use Twitter). Twitter also allows you to “share” tweets you enjoy either through Facebook, email, or SMS.
So has the release of the official Twitter app made all other 3rd party Twitter apps obsolete? Well, not really, not yet anyway. Though very close to perfect, there are still a few drawbacks that ensure this will not be my exclusive app for a while. First, I absolutely need the ability to add comments before retweeting something. Looking at my feed, it’s apparent that many others feel this way as well, and this is one I hope Twitter clears up very soon. Second, I’ve been spoiled by the full conversation view found in Touiteur, and really want to see Twitter integrate this feature in a future release. Finally, Twitter does not offer multiple account support, which is likely to be a deal breaker for some. Most 3rd party apps offer multiple account support, and it’s somewhat surprising that the official app does not do the same.
- Tight integration into the Android platform
- Pleasing/almost eye-catching user interface
- Mapping tweets
- Well laid-out widget
- Innovative and easy-to-use Twitter trends feed
Things I’d like to see in future releases:
- Ability to add comments before retweeting
- Full conversation view
- Support for multiple accounts
If you have Android 2.1, you need to download the official Twitter App. It hit a homerun in its first release, and is only a version or two away from the lucrative grand slam. I greatly enjoy the Twitter app, and strongly think you will too.
Twitter is available for free on the Android Market for all phones running 2.1 and above.