There may be many reasons to switch from the stock Twitter client for Android to any of many numerous other third party applications. Some people like the different look; others like the speed benefits or different features of specific clients. Google aims to keep you hooked to the stock Twitter client for Android with their most recent update of the application. This update adds a few notable features, a small performance increase and more customization options. For the same reason that I’ve stuck with the stock Android browser for so long, I may find myself switching back to the stock Twitter client because of its integration into the Android system. You can read all about this in the following review of ‘Twitter for Android.’
The User Interface is key in any mobile application because of usage of restricted screen space and making it finger friendly. This client excels in both departments with a clean, simple UI that is easy to navigate for any beginning mobile user. Opening it up will bring you to a home screen on white background with blue logos and text [the theme for Twitter and the entire application] with options to visit your timeline, your mentions, direct messages, trending topics, lists you follow, retweets only, or a search term. At the top right hand corner you also get a compose tweet button and a search button. When composing a tweet you have a wide open area to enter text with options located around the periphery.
I only have two major gripes about the UI. First: the main screen still cannot be rotated to landscape, which was an obvious problem with the original version of the application. You can slide open your keyboard or rotate your device to kick in the accelerometer, but no matter what the main screen is stuck in portrait mode, whether you like it or not. Second: the timeline still does not have the option to come back to where you left off. This is a feature I was waiting for when holding out from switching back to this stock twitter client from ‘Twicca,’ what I’m currently using. If you are halfway up your timeline and reading a tweet and decide to ‘back’ out to check on your Newsrob, coming back to the twitter client will bring you to the very top of your timeline. This means if you can’t remember where that tweet you saw was [perhaps to RT] you will have to scroll all the way back to find it. This is a minor problem for some and a major problem for others like me. You can decide whether or not this makes a difference in your choice of Twitter client.
There’s no shortage of productive features in this client, but only one that really helps it to stand out from the rest. That feature is integration. The stock browser, stock Twitter and Facebook clients may not be the fastest or most customizable, but they are always best at integrating with the Android OS. As you can see by the screenshot of the settings screen you can choose to sync a contact with their Twitter account to view their latest Twitter status before calling them. Good call, Google.
Another thing people will like about this app is the search integration. With Android 2.2 Froyo and above you can choose to search contacts, apps, the marketplace and even tweets. This tweet search function comes with the integration into the Android OS. Of course you don’t have to use the app full time to take advantage of the tweet search function.
In general I judge an app’s overall quality by its speed, stability, ease of use and update frequency relative to its feature set. The app is of decent speed. It doesn’t quite compare to the some of the other Twitter clients I’ve used in the past but it is nowhere near slow. Stability is 100% perfect. Not a single crash or malfunction or an issue with anything in that department. It can’t be uninstalled without root access, but that’s to be expected with apps that come pre-installed that aren’t yet being moved into the market. Ease of use, as mentioned in the UI-focused section of this review, is top notch. I still wish it had landscape support throughout and a few features like coming back to where I left off but otherwise it is a solid application. I hope the next update provides those features and moves it to the Android market. That would be just perfect!
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