February 10, 2011

Twitter Issues New Revamped Android Client

Twitter was relatively late to the Android client game, purchasing Atebits (and Tweetie) for iPhone and rolling out a high quality experience there while competitors like TweetDeck and Seesmic made inroads on the Google side. But they are working hard on catching up fast, introducing their first native app in April of 2010, and expanding on it with a new version rolled out today. I've been using it for the last 24 hours, and yes, it's better. Some of the advancements are very simple, but the first big step is that the stream of tweets is at the center of the app, instead of a clunky navigation menu that was the hallmark of the previous version.

Opening the new Twitter for Android, once you have signed in with your account, you are immediately presented with the timeline view of tweets from those you follow. Above this timeline are simple icons that bring you to frequently visited parts of the service, including mentions, direct messages and lists. Smartly, the app signifies new content in those mentions, tweets and lists with a small blue dot, inviting you to click over and catch up.

The New Twitter Timeline and Creating a Tweet on Android

One of the first things you'll notice with the new Android app is a push to get deep into your contacts - much like Facebook and Google have done with parallel apps. Twitter scours your contacts to find those with associated Twitter accounts, and goes so far as giving you the option to "Follow All" with a single click - not that I recommend it. It's no doubt a great solution for new people looking to expand their network on Twitter, and helps with onboarding, but may be less useful for experienced users.

Contact Syncing and Preferences on Twitter for Android

Twitter also integrates tightly with Android to offer notifications for new tweets, mentions and messages, which can pop to the front of the phone, cause it to vibrate, or simply show a notification light on the device.

Unsurprisingly, other aspects of the Twitter service are also integrated into the app, from suggested users by topic, displaying retweets, and the ever-popular trends that surface daily. You can also browse your previous favorites, or scan lists that you've created and followed.

Favorites and Replies on Twitter for Android

Oh yes, and don't forget to tweet. The new app simplifies tweeting by giving a full-screen view for making new messages. Uploaded photos display as thumbnails and show the size of the photo, which can impact time to post. You can also geotag updates and scroll through those you follow to mention them.

Twitter's goal is to keep their apps simple, so don't expect magical multi-column support, multi-account support and other advanced features for power users. But if you liked the last version, you'll like this one even more.