Twitter for Android review

Reviews Damien McFerran 17:31, 27 May 2010

We review Twitter for Android, the official social networking client for Google's platform

If the world of social media 2010 will be significant as the year in which Twitter finally stepped in and took control of its mobile future.

After months of allowing third-party Twitter clients to rule the roost on mobile devices the big bird has finally produced its own applications for both the iPhone and Android platforms.

While the iPhone edition is in reality a third-party app with a fresh like of paint, the Android variant is a whole new ball game.

Build from the ground up by Twitter’s talented team of developers, it manages to effortlessly replicate the appearance of the full-blown site and offer users a wide range of time-saving tricks and other features – but is it worth jettisoning your old client just yet?

Although every Twitter app is different in its own little way, most have subscribed to a pretty standard template.

Your timeline is your main screen and pretty much all activity takes place on this on display.

Twitter for Android is different - it offers up a main menu from which you can perform various tasks such as visiting your timeline, looking at tweets which mention your name or perusing any pre-formatted lists you may have.

However, the biggest draw of this new home screen is the trending cloud which appears at the bottom of the display.

Various keywords and hash-tagged items appear as speech bubbles and tapping one brings up a list of tweets relating to that subject.

It’s a throwaway feature which you probably won’t use all that often but it does come in handy when you’re at a loose end and want to see what others are discussing.

In terms of functionality Twitter for Android covers all of the basics.

You can shorten URLs within the app, upload images from your phone’s gallery (or take an entirely new image to attach to a tweet), add in the names of other users via a separate menu and even geo-tag your tweets. In a rather neat move, uploaded images are displayed as thumbnails within your timeline – just as they are on the proper Twitter website.

On the subject of geo-tagging, Twitter for Android also features the ability to view a world map showing the locations of the people you’re following.

Although the general apathy towards tagging tweets makes this a little bit redundant, it’s a great touch and could prove very useful as Twitter users begin to adopt location-based social networking habits fostered by apps such as FourSquare.

Retweeting works as it does on Twitter’s official site – instead of allowing you to edit the contents of a tweet, it merely re-posts it in its entirely to your timeline so your followers can see it.

The old-fashioned “RT” method isn’t available and isn’t likely to come in future updates as Twitter wants everybody to adopt the new “native” retweet system. Progress is all very well but this move might present something of a stumbling block for dedicated Twitter users.

Compared to some of the more established Twitter clients out there, like Seesmic and Twidroid, Twitter for Android is somewhat lacking in features and customisation opportunities.

It’s also a little slow and unstable. Posting a tweet can sometimes take a few seconds and it’s not uncommon to witness error messages when both posting and attempting to download tweets to your timeline.

If you’re currently comfortable with the Twitter client you use then we’d advise you stick with it until Twitter for Android is a little more mature and has a few more revisions under its belt.

As it stands this official app is certainly polished and very intuitive, but it’s not worth ignoring all other options just yet.

Twitter for Android info

Ease of use:

Platform: Android

Cost: Free

Version: 1.0.1

Developer: Twitter

Website/Demo: Twitter website

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