Aug 12 AT 3:21 PM Anthony Domanico 35 Comments

First Impressions of the newly-minted TweetDeck beta

As we (and basically everyone else out there) have already reported, the TweetDeck for Android beta is now available for your downloading pleasure. This version (0.9.1) is slightly different than the 0.9 version that was leaked yesterday, so if you’ve already downloaded 0.9, you might want to uninstall and head over to TweetDeck’s blog and install the newer version.

Most of us have likely used TweetDeck, and I think we all want this ambitious application to succeed. What follows is by no means a formal review, as TweetDeck is still in the beta phases, but serves more as a gauge for what I think TweetDeck is doing well and some ways in which they can improve. The final goal is to share this information with TweetDeck to ensure they deliver the amazing application we’ve all been long hoping for them to come out with.

More importantly, we want to hear from as many of you as possible. What do you like? What don’t you like? What would you like to see in future iterations?  We encourage you to leave some suggestions in the comments below, and we’ll forward them on to the TweetDeck team.

What TweetDeck does well

The good news about TweetDeck for Android is that it does a lot of things well right out of the gate. For starters, the initial set-up of your accounts on TweetDeck for Android is a breeze, especially if you’ve already set up your TweetDeck account on your PC. Simply log into your TweetDeck account and your Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz, and Foursquare logins will all automatically populate in under a minute (mine took about 15 seconds).

Though there are several things not to like about the main stream (and we’ll get to those later), the idea of being able to manage your Facebook, Twitter, Buzz, and Foursquare social feeds from within a single stream is an intriguing concept, and one I think many (though definitely not all) of you will greatly enjoy. Initially, I think it’s a very good thing, as I’ve often found I would only be really paying close attention to Twitter and ignoring my friends that have not yet embraced tweeting. A drawback to the single-stream feature is that it has the potential to clutter an already-nightmarish feed, especially for those of you with many friends.

The overall UI is very pleasing (in my opinion), though flawed in text size. I enjoy the white text on gray background and the ability to swipe between the main feeds and the more personal ones. The buttons at the bottom of the screen are a bit large, but not obtrusive, and provide quick access to making a new post, access to your profile and recent updates, search, and the map feature which allows you to see nearby places for easy check-ins.

Overall, many of the features you could ever hope to want from a social media all-in-one application are there, with some notable exceptions and improvements that need to be made before calling this the app to rule them all, which of course leads us to our next topic.

Where TweetDeck could Improve

It is important to remember that TweetDeck is still in beta, and they are already working to improve upon what they’ve done so far. That being said, it is our duty to help them out. So here’s my list of things I’d like to see TweetDeck for Android do better. Again, please feel free to add your two cents in the comments, and we will be sending them on to TweetDeck.

  • Landscape mode is a must have for any application. The fact that TweetDeck doesn’t allow for it is a bit puzzling to me, though perhaps is explained by improvement area #2.
  • Smaller Text – It’s more than a bit strange that any social media application would be released that can’t fit more than 3 or 4 updates on the screen at any given time. This issue is likely to be the most frustrating one, as it make managing your timeline increasingly difficult. I was in meetings for an hour and a half today, and was frustrated beyond belief trying to scroll through the 200 or so updates while only viewing 3 at a time. This fix should be high priority on TweetDeck’s list.
  • Lack of customization ability – Though I’m quite happy with the overall look and feel, I know several of you want to be able to customize your UI to your hearts content. Adding the ability to change background and text color to personalize the TweetDeck experience would be a welcome add to the application.
  • Complete lack of settings – The current application doesn’t allow you to change settings to your preferences. Indeed, it lacks a settings category altogether. You can’t change the notification intervals or anything else you might like to do. That’s all up to whatever settings the developers set it at, which is not very user-friendly.
  • Can’t change what feeds you want to see/add or remove columns. This is a big feature of the PC client. Simply add what you want and only what you want, which provides a fully custom social media experience. For whatever reason, this is lacking in the Android application. UPDATE: This one actually is in the beta. Simply go to what you want to add (#android for example) and click add column to add to your column list.

Final/Closing Thoughts

All in all, TweetDeck for Android is a promising beta application that rightfully leaves us salivating for the final release. Sure, there are several bugs and tweaks that still need to happen, but that’s the whole purpose of a beta application. If you’re a social media fiend like I am, or even just a casual user, I encourage you to head over to TweetDeck’s blog and sign up for the service. Then, give us (or TweetDeck themselves) your recommendations for how you think they can make the application better.

Accounts screen manage columns Map TweetDeck 1 TweetDeck 2 TweetDeck 3 tweetdeck settings

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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