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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  • http://Website Paul

    I made the mistake of signing up for the Beta without reading the OSes that were supported in this beta. Needless to say this is another reason I despise Android openness versus Apple’s close mindedness (you don’t have to wait around for an upgrade). Will have something more constructive to say once I am running 2.x or when Tweetdeck get’s around to adding support for 1.6.


    • Anthony Domanico

      They’re adding support for 1.6 very soon. They’re simply testing compatibility.

  • http://Website Artar

    Great article. One small thing, unless I’m mistaken, you can turn off notifications by going into “manage columns” and then hitting off. Right?

    • http://Website james

      no if you turn the column off it stops it from showing on the main screen

      • http://Website Andy

        That should just turn off the notifications. I turned off the button for home and I stopped getting notifications for every tweet.

  • http://Website james

    i found you can add specific people to the columns which is a nice touch. for example i added android an me as its own column so i can see your tweets without having to scroll through a million and one other feeds

    • Anthony Domanico

      Hmm…didn’t notice that yet. Good catch! :)

  • http://Website Andy

    You can add columns and delete some of them. For instance you can add your favorites column by hitting the second button on the bottom, the one with the grid of squares, then click on your twitter feed. This takes you to another screen where you click your favorites and then at the bottom you can click add a column. I didn’t figure it out either. I went to their feedback page where people were among questions.

  • Clark Wimberly

    You can’t turn notifications off

    I could handle it if it just notified me of mentions and DM’s, but it updates the status bar EVERY SINGLE TIME any one of your followers tweets. I was getting multiple notifications per minute. How is anyone using this long term?

    • http://Website Steffen

      You can turn notifications off. From the main stream click Menu>Manage Columns and then toggle the notifications on or off for each individual column.

  • http://Website james

    no u are right they do turn them off. i apologise but it would be nice if we had more controll than on/off

  • http://Website Phillip

    I agree on needing more customization/settings (esp on notifications and fitting more info on screen), I’d like to see time stamps on the items in the list, it’d be nice to have some of the app-specific features like being able to hide certain things (game notifications in facebook), and that’s all I’ve got off the top of my head. It’s great so far but your list of improvements would make it even better.

    • http://Website Anthony Domanico

      Actually, the timestamp at the top of the screen is the time that post was made. It has the timestamp there, its just different. Not sure yet whether or not I like it.

  • Ucla74

    Good quick-look review. Was able to easily add and remove columns. All the other shortcomings you identified, I agree with.

    MUST HAVE landscape mode; text sizing; notification control.

    For a first beta shot (0.9 does not count!), this is a good effort. TweetDeck is by far the best desktop (and laptop) Twitter client; I’m confident they’ll do right by us for Android as well.

    • http://Website james

      i agree Landscape is a must. and more than 3 updates is a very big must!!

  • http://Website Ant

    Using Droid Incredible (not rooted) My GPS hung up a bit after going to the map – wouldn’t shut off (stop pinging) – Shut down app, restarted app, seems to work fine now.

  • http://Website james

    is there no way to have my twitter feed and my facebook in two colums?

  • http://Website Andrew

    I’m using the desktop version and it’s pretty nice. Won’t be able to use it on my Mytouch until either Tmobile or Tweekdecks pick up the ball. Happy with seeing the functionality on the desktop though and think it will be awesome on my phone once it’s out.

  • Lee Casey

    What it does well:

    1. Performance
    I have not used an Android twitter client which is as fluid as this one. Lets hope it stays that way as they add more features.

    2. GUI
    The GUI is clean and minimalistic, just to my taste. However, it needs to be scaled down dramatically! Its like twitter for kids.

    3. Multi Network Support
    I think it handles the other social networks extremely well. However it would be nice to have Facebook in it’s own column.

    Things that need to be added or improved:

    1. Notifications
    At current you CAN choose which columns you wish to be notified on. However, there is no vibrate alert and no sound alert (Nexus One). I get a (rather nice) yellow track ball notification.

    2. Landscape Mode
    Enough said.

    I think people need to remember that this is still in beta and was only released today. I have no doubt that Tweetdeck will become the most popular Android client out there as the new features are added. The Tweetdeck team are extremely active and are always working on improving their clients. Good job and I look forward to seeing some updates soon! :)

  • http://Website Jason Lassourreille

    Did anyone else have problems setting up Google Buzz? I can’t get it to work.

  • http://Website Tony G.

    I’ve been using the leaked version and went to the released version, not much of a difference, it’s very nice tho, and runs great on 2.2 on my HD2.

  • http://Website Brett

    Great beta release so far! One annoyance I’ve seen is with my google buzz account. I have buzz treat my gmail statuses as ‘private’ buzzes and I’m guessing that because of that, any reply I get from that buzz appears in tweetdeck for android with the message:

    “Private comment only viewable at (insert google web address here)”.

    Is there any way I can get these posts to show up with the actual message, rather than a link?

    Also when I list a buzz contact by their email (i.e. “hey @[email protected], how’s it going?” tweetdeck for android does a great job recognizing it’s from @John Doe, however the hotlink it makes to that contact, links to “@John” rather than “@John Doe” (and when it tries to find “@John”, it looks for that person in twitter, rather than in Buzz.

    Hopefully this makes sense (my description)

  • http://Website Deter

    I wanted to chime in with what I think could be improved. Some of these will be repeats but hopefully that’s even more helpful.

    Notifications should have a customize option for sounds, vibrate maybe even led color.

    Refresh interval should be adjustable.

    Columns should have an option to easily seperate based on source.

    Font size should be adjustable to allow for more than 3-4 messages on one screen.

    Hope this helps. I think its off to a good start, but definitely needs a Little tweeking.

    • http://Website Deter

      Just found out another thing to think about. After setting up my desktop version of TweetDeck the way i liked it with my columns the way i like them, i though i’d give the mobile beta another shot to see if my columns would be set up the same way. Though it imported my accounts, it did not import my columns.

  • http://Website Rob Koehler

    Anyone get multiple twitter accounts to show?

    • Peter Souza IV

      Sort of, but you’ll need to be okay with making some changes to XML files on your phone’s internal memory…

      When you add a twitter account, it creates an accountX.xml file where X is the account ID as auto-assigned by TweetDeck. It creates this in /data/data/

      Use Advanced Task Killer, OSManager, etc. to kill TweetDeck entirely.

      Then, use Root Explorer (or any other compatible app) to modify the accounts.xml file in that folder.

      You should see a line that indicates your first twitter account with a value of X. So if your first twitter account was 0, it will say value=”0″. The next line will be the password for that account. Duplicate these two lines with the ID for your second twitter account and the password that goes with it. You may need to peek through the various accountX.xml files to find out what ID is missing. Save the file and exit from Root Explorer.

      When you launch TweetDeck, it will start pulling tweets from both twitter accounts on the Home page and you will have access to create columns for both accounts (such as direct messages and mentions), however the account will still be missing from Accounts.

      They’re working on a permanent fix.

  • Richard Barley

    Hey guys,
    Just wanted to say thanks for a great article. We have been thrilled with the great reception that TweetDeck for Android received yesterday!
    You’ll be pleased to know that most of the suggestions made here are already either planned for implementation or are under consideration, so keep your eyes peeled over the next few weeks as we continue to develop the app based on your feedback.
    Richard Barley (@richardbarley)
    TweetDeck Community Manager

  • hoshposh

    The review was great, and the points raised were all spot on. I think one additional improvement would be to provide a share integration.

    First, to allow any of the tweets and messages to be shared via the registered sharing applications outside of TweetDeck.

    Next, for TweetDeck to register as a “Share with” application, so that I can share things from other applications through Tweetdeck.

    I really like the yellow highlighted bar showing the amount of unread messages there are in a column.

    I share others observations about some flexibility about assigning people I am following into the same column.

    I really like the app though.


  • http://Website Franklin

    “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.”

    Doesn’t Tweetdeck for Android support real-time tweets? So, then there IS no notification interval to adjust …

  • http://Website marius

    I really like the app, it has replaced htc’s friend stream app on my desire like 2 mins after I downloaded it.

    Still I’d like to see some improvements…

    I’ve had the issue with the gps that kept pinging, too. But I guess you’ll figure that out…

    I’d love to be able to open links without having to “open” the tweet/fb-status first…even when you make it possible to see more updates at once (=smaller text) – I just don’t want to have to read/ see the status again to open a link

    And I get a force close every single time I’m trying to add my foursquare account. That kind of sucks…

    okay…I’m excited to see new versions of the app! Thank you team tweetdeck

  • Lomig

    Love, love, love it! However… I unstalled it for now. It uses way too much data… in 5 days it was responsible for a 70mb usage increase. Having a 500mb monthly cap, it’s way too much.

    If it had the ability to change the update frequency it should help… but there are no options that I could see other than the columns on/off.

    Back to individual apps for me… for now. Will look out for future releases though!

    • Lomig

      Nevermind :)
      Beta 0.9.4 allows one to change the frequency of update (default is 3mins, can even opt for manual). Tweetdeck back on my N1!

  • http://Website larry

    Hide android status bar

  • http://Website Gil

    No list management so cannot add or delete members or create lists. Until then twidroyd is mtg choice. Sad because it is beyer almost every other way

  • Radhika Ray

    there are too many new applications being launched in android market off late. The customers are really spoilt for the choice but who’s complaining. More the merrier.

    But android has opened possibility of a whole new world of mobility and also turned fortune for samsung as a mobile handset manufacturer.

    Samsung has really emerged as a strong competitor to the leader for long Nokia