May 04 AT 11:38 PM Anthony Domanico 45 Comments

An in-depth look at the official Twitter for Android

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

Final Verdict

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.

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Twitter is available for free on the Android Market for all phones running 2.1 and above.

Via: Twitter

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.

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • http://Website Ben Tolmachoff

    While I agree that the app is very slick and pleasing to use, I hate having to manually refresh my tweets upon load-up and unless I’m missing an option, it’s not available.

    I agree that it’s close to a grand-slam, but I still prefer Touiter’s slick style and functionality. It’s close…

    @ben_tolmachoff if you want to follow me. I rarely say anything worthwhile though.

    • http://Website Hamish Uldrich

      As far as I can see it auto-updates perfectly.
      once the app is launched, hit “twitter” then hit your menu button and select settings, there’s a refresh interval setting in there.

      • houserhythm

        He means auto-update when you manually open the app. If you open the app between syncs, it should refresh there and then, not make you push refresh button.

        And yea – this and RT w/ comment is also what’s keeping me away for now.

    • http://Website Steffen Olson

      Mine auto-updates every 15 minutes. You need to check “Sync Twitter Data” in the apps settings. Then it gives you the option of how long to wait in between updates.
      P.S. I had to reboot my phone once before any of the syncing options worked.

  • tagon

    Not sure why but recently I seems to have stopped auto updating. I got it the day it was released and it was updating and once an hour I would get something in my notification bar just stopped the last day or two.

    Still set to notify and run, but it doesn’t.

    • jetblast_7

      Don’t know if it makes a difference but i heard that they were having trouble with their API’s. I think it is fixed now though.

  • Demi Adejuyigbe

    The official app doesn’t support multiple accounts, conversation view, updating your timeline for more than 20 tweets (which sucks if you check Twitter only a few times a day), lacks native retweet support and customization, and has lame settings. I think I’ll stick with Touiteur.

    • Demi Adejuyigbe

      It also doesn’t auto-update. :(

  • Lemon

    A few small things:

    Favs add in the foreground. This is a KILLER on a flaky data connection as you can’t keep reading. Let it fail in the background and then ALERT YOU in the notification bar so you can try again. <- EVERY Twitter app needs to do this.

    Multi account, when it's implemented, needs to be done like Touiteur – that multi timeline view with colour coding is PURE gold.

    It's FAST. I wish all Twitter apps loaded the timeline this fast (well, Seesmic's pretty damn fast too)…

  • Poliko

    I used Touiteur quite a bit, but I decided to give this a try. I enjoy this, but I agree with a few fellow users: needs to allow multi-accounts as well as auto-update. Yet, I definitely find it pleasing in many ways that the article stated.

    All in all, I’ll keep using this until I either just get tired of it and switch to another client. Most likely back to Touiteur.

    • http://Website Poliko

      Also, follow me and let’s be friends. @almostoklahoma

  • Steve

    The Android 2.1+ requirement seriously sucks. I’ve been waiting very interested for this app but I am one of the many that are running an older Android version (1.6 on the G1).

    Unfortunately I’m not in a position to afford upgrading my handset and rooting seems like a lot of effort! I really didn’t expect the G1 to be dropped this quickly. unfortunately a lot of cool apps I’ve seen come out lately are aimed at 2.1+ with no consideration for older versions. It’s a pity.

    • http://Website Dan

      Rooting the G1 isn’t tough at all. The latest cyanogen rom is 2.1 and is AMAZING. The g1 feels like a brand new phone. Look into it.

  • http://Website jayare

    I’ve seeming almost every review that the official Twitter doesn’t support full conversation view when it does. If somebody replied to a tweet the full conversation can be viewed by pressing “in reply to”.

    • Anthony Domanico

      Whenever I click on the in reply to, it takes me to a single tweet rather than the series of tweets. I don’t want to waste time clicking “in reply to” 20 times just to be able to see everything.

  • http://Website CJ

    Are you on crack? This is no home run. Maybe a base hit. Why introduce an official app that doesn’t even match the features of 3rd party apps? No multiple account support, no retweet with comment, no full conversation view…. How hard can it be to integrate those features? #FAIL

    • Anthony Domanico

      While it “doesn’t match” 3rd party apps in some respects, it far passes them in others. Keep in mind that this is a 1.0 release. For a 1.0 release, this app is pretty epic. Hopefully they will listen to user feedback to improve the app going forward. I will pass all the information in these comments on to the Twitter team.

      I agree that there are a few facepalms regarding the things the official app left out, but the pluses far outweigh the facepalms.

  • http://Website grey

    Also lacking is the ability for this apparently to remember where you were in the list. If you exit and reopen or if it refreshes itself in the background and you open up the app it takes you to the top of the list and not to the last place in the list you left it.

    Highly annoying as you end up reading the timeline in reverse or you have to scroll the list manually to locate where you left off.

    Good first attempt though.

  • http://Website DrE

    I can’t get the view on map option to pop up @Dre_b_fly is anyone can help

  • http://Website roy

    You forgot to mention that you can use the android search box to search for tweets now (if you enable it in the search settings). That falls under integration.

    • Anthony Domanico

      Nice catch. I’ll try to add that bit later. Still getting used to this WordPress thing :)

  • Tim

    QR Code? Yes im sure it is easy to find, the issue is that im just a stickler for it. It is one of my pet peeves i guess.

    • Anthony Domanico

      That’s a great point. I do apologize for that one, I’m used to them adding the QR code to all the postings I do, and since this is my first “real” post (and in fact Taylor had to add it since I didn’t have access to all the systems just yet), I didn’t check to see that it had been added. I will request that Taylor add the QR code ASAP.

      Thanks for the catch!

  • auravedic

    yeh mnay be full convo view in the app culd make it super
    but even otherwise i’d rate t4android 4 on 5

  • Joe

    This is a nice start and all, but I have an odd bug. The “view on map” button simply isn’t there. Nexus One here, with Google Maps installed, and GPS enabled. But instead of Home and View on Map, I just have one large Home button.

    • Anthony Domanico

      I’ve been noticing some spotty showings of the “view on map” feature since this review was posted. I must have broken it! :-p

      Seriously though, I think it looks at just the last 10-20 tweets and will only display the view on map feature if the tweeters have location enabled. Many people don’t have location enabled, so Twitter doesn’t know where they would fit on a map.

  • smithey253

    I would like to see a full size widget, similar to the ones HTC supply their Sense UI phones. Once it receives this it would be a killer.

    • Anthony Domanico

      Though I like the official Twitter widget, I do agree that HTC Peep set a gold standard when it comes to widgets (although that’s the only respect in which Peep could ever set a gold standard! ;)

  • http://Website Pete

    Is there a place to log feedback to Twitter about the app? I’m liking it so far, got tired of Seesmic and wanted to try something new. But things I’d like to see on top of the things mentioned above:

    Display the “friendly name” instead of the twitter userid. This isn’t really that big of a deal, but it’s kinda nice.

    Maintain my spot in the timeline where I left off reading. This is my biggest complaint I think. It annoys me to have to read things in reverse chronological order, and I usually only get to go through my timeline once at the end of the day. I’d rather it remember where I last read, accumulate unread tweets since then (which it does), and then let me read them in order until I get back to the top of my timeline.

    A way to view followers, things about my profile. Maybe I’m missing this? Sometimes I want to pull up a specific friend and go to their profile….if they didn’t tweet something recently I have to search or something. This was something from Seesmic that I miss.

    All in all, I think the official twitter app on android really shines, though, as an example of what Android apps can be.

  • Chris Caddell

    I think one of the main pluses with this app is what is represents. When Android first came out, it was up to a bunch of third party developers to scrounge around and come up with mobile solutions for popular services. Some were good, but most were a little wonky, since the developer usually had no connection with the company.

    Now however, we are seeing more and more apps come out that the company itself has created (Twitter, Mint, Dropbox, etc.). While still early in the game, most show the promise of extremely high quality*, and are a representation that businesses are finally taking Android seriously. I can only imagine the quality and quantity of applications growing from here, and I for one am really excited about the future.

    *(-there is one notable exception…..I’m looking at you Facebook….)

  • http://Website juan

    can someone please explain how this works

    “This allows you to map the latest tweets in your timeline assuming the tweeters make their location public (defaulted in the Twitter app).”

    • http://Website juan
      • Anthony Domanico

        On your main feed, hit menu and you should see two options, one for home, and one for view on map. Clicking on the view on map button should take you to the map.

        Please note that this option will not appear if none of your most recent tweets in the timeline have a location attached to it. In that case you would just have the big “Home” button. People need to allow Twitter to track your location for this option to work appropriately.

  • http://Website iamchuen

    How to enable the “View on map”? How can I view the geotag of the tweets?

    • Anthony Domanico

      If you create a new Tweet, you should see a slider in teh top left that will turn location on or off (you may have to go to and activate their location service first). This will use your phone’s GPS to attach a geolocation to your tweet. If enough other people in your feed use the location service, the view on map feature should appear once you hit menu on your main feed/timeline.

      • http://Website iamchuen


        Need how many tweets are using geotag to enable the “View on map”?

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Tweets > Menu button > View on map

      • http://Website iamchuen

        Yes, I know.

        But when I click “MENU”, only a big “HOME” appear

  • Canterrain

    I’ve played long and hard with the new twitter app, and I think… for a first released newly minted app… it is quite possibly the most polished and refined twitter app to ever be released.
    (Lemme clarify that, I don’t mean nothing is currently more polished and refined, I mean no other twitter app was so polished and refined when they were first released).

    But there are those glaring omissions. The conversation view, the full sized widget (I wasn’t a fan of the facebook widget), the ability to tap and be brought back to the top of the tweet list.

    I still can’t figure out if you can choose between exact location geotagging and vague place. Why wouldn’t twitter include that in their very own app when they so wisely made that an option to give twitter apps?

    But it does cement in the idea that there are people at twitter and google who really know how to produce quality and work very well as a team.

  • roland99

    This is so cool, you need this app

  • underamoon

    Good Widget — I think I can finally get rid of Twidgit.

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