However Twitter are killing the Mobile version of Tweetdeck, when Twitter acquired the company they were really just interested in the desktop app (which will continue to be available) and the mobile version is being wound down.
So this post is for anyone looking to experiment with different Twitter apps, and especially for anyone who is looking for a Tweetdeck replacement on their Android phone. Each mini review is my own personal opinion of how the app fits in with my needs, I am not trying to provide an objective overview of each app!
I have tested these apps on both the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7, however this post will be useful to all android phone owners. Other than fitting more tweets or menu items on the screen, all the apps seemed to work the same on both devices. I would be interested to know if anyone spotted any notable differences when running on a tablet versus a phone.
The best Twitter clients:
Here follows my selection of the best android twitter clients around. I’ve gone and installed pretty much everything that came up in searches so I hope this covers the main apps.
Of course, if you have any other suggestions, we’d love to hear from you.
Here’s the list.
Official Twitter App
For a long time the official twitter app was way off anyone’s list of best clients, 3rd party providers did the job and undoubtedly played a key role in building Twitter’s success. However the official app is decent enough these days and many people are happy to use it exclusively.
I really liked the app’s presentation, it is fast, easy to navigate and just really easy to read. Tweets are presented clearly with all the key information available to you. Multiple accounts are supported but you can only view one at a time. The “discover” column shows news and latest trends, this works really well at presenting interesting tweets and is great to explore in a free five minutes. And, being official, you know the app is always going to work well with authentication, API calls, rate limits etc, it seemed very stable.
The official app would have been my top choice if the app had configurable columns. For example, you can get to your lists, favourites and saved searches but you have to do a few swipes to find them under the “Me” column. The great thing about Tweetdeck was how you could set up columns for all the things you wanted to track on a daily basis. If they add this in, I would happily stick to the official app.
Verdict: A keeper.
Plume was another favourite and will definitely be staying on my Nexus 4. Like Tweetdeck you are able to add all the columns you could possibly want, timelines, searches, lists etc. Columns can be ordered, they can be across multiple accounts and you can hide any default ones that you don’t use.
Plume is very configurable and although the default look and feel wasn’t to my liking it didn’t take long to get it set up just the way I liked it.
On the down side, you have to wait for searches to refresh before you can see anything, whereas on Tweetdeck you’d be able to see recent results immediately (and had the choice to refresh). I also found that when tweeting Plume would always seem to pop up a question such as which account to use, or which hash tags to include – fair enough, but Tweetdeck seemed to default this to something sensible but make it easy to change if needed. I seemed to work a little slower on Plume because of this.
Verdict: Most used.
Slices key features appears to be their attempt at providing a window over what’s going on across the Twitterverse. With millions of tweets passing through the system, surfacing the tweets you need to read is clearly a massive problem and Slices attempts to solve this problem. I’m afraid it didn’t really work for me, a lot of the content seemed US centric and to be honest I don’t really care much for the celebrity / brand follow suggestions.
Another key feature is the ability to slice your timeline into related groups. I get this feature, and it’s a great idea. If you are following 100s of people then your timeline can quickly get swamped with rubbish you don’t care about. The trouble is I already have a solution to this problem! One, I am very choosy about who I follow, and two, Twitter lists are designed just for this (want a slice of Google or Android?)
Verdict: Might work for you.
I really liked Tweetlanes and this could easily have been the winner if it weren’t for a couple of problems. Still, the app is open source and in development so I have no doubt they will overcome these problems. When I get back into Android development I’m even going to have a go at compiling the code myself (although I don’t yet have the skills to enhance it!).
Tweetlanes, as the name suggests, is again centred around configurable columns allowing you to create a Tweetdeck type feel. Presentation is superb, one of the best layouts in my opinion, easy to read and I liked the way images are displayed in a thumbnail to the right of the tweet. One of the easiest feeds to scan through and digest.
There were three pieces of functionality that I missed: notifications, the ability to add a search as a column, and finally I would like to be able to reorder columns.
Unfortunately I suffered a few problems when using the app, one is the “rate limit exceeded” error message which is unfortunately down to the limited API calls Twitter grants to apps like Tweetlanes. And also the app seemed to crash from time to time.
Verdict: Great potential.
Carbon stands out as a very slick Twitter client. There are some great graphical effects unlike anything you’ll find in the other clients listed here and the transitions between screens provide an extra touch of polish and when you consider this is a free app, anyone looking for a new client has got to give this one a look.
Unfortunately Carbon was unable to provide the multiple column view that I was after, and it lacked some customisation options that I would need to get the look and feel the way I wanted it. These criticisms are obviously personal to my needs so don’t let this put you off trying it out. The devs have done a seriously good job on this.
I also noted that Carbon doesn’t switch to Landscape mode, not sure if that’s just me and to be honest not a problem as I think the portrait view is more useful. Perhaps something that will come in a future update.
Verdict: Very slick.
Falcon is another great app that I really enjoyed using. Although it doesn’t offer the Tweetdeck columns type experience, everything you need is easily accessible through menus that slide out from the sides. Lists, saved searches, favourite users, it’s all there on the pop out menu.
The tweet viewing experience is excellent, photos look good in the timeline and if you press through to the tweet, any web pages linked to are viewable underneath the content. Falcon also had decent configuration options which allowed me to customise the feel to just how I wanted it.
Unfortunately, as far as I could see, Falcon does not support multiple user accounts. For this reason it won’t be a long term winner for me but if this is added in the future then I will definitely revisit.
Verdict: Solo account tweeters.
The App itself provides just the kind of view over multiple accounts, lists, and searches that I am looking for. It also has some other cool features that I make use of such as automated tweeting of RSS feeds.
The big draw back is that the free version only allows five social media accounts, and I run several websites, each with their own twitter account. Now actually this is precisely what Hootsuite is designed for, it is a central management tool for brands with multiple social media channels and I can see how it does that job brilliantly. However the next level of subscription is priced up at £7 a month and I just couldn’t care enough about Twitter to pay out almost £100 a year to run my accounts.
Verdict: Great for businesses.
The Ubersocial client is another top contender in my Tweetdeck replacement hunt. Once again it is easy to add columns such as Timelines, Mentions, Lists etc, and scroll through them one at a time in any order you choose. However there is no way to add a search to its own column, all of your saved searches are listed together and you have to click through each one.
Multiple accounts are supported but you can only look at one at a time which is good in one way as you don’t get them confused, but I did find there are certain accounts I just forgot to check. The app looks good enough and the presentation of tweets is very clear. You can also add other social media accounts so you can keep track of Facebook in the same place.
There are a good range of configuration options, you can also opt for a two column view in landscape mode which could be a good choice for running on the Nexus 7.
Verdict: Please let us add #tag searches as a column!
At the time of writing, the other clients I looked at just seemed ahead of the game. I would be interested to hear from any Robird fans, I gave it a go as it was recommended to me via Twitter. What am I missing?
Verdict: Beaten by the competition.
Seesmic offers integration of multiple social accounts, so you can view Twitter and Facebook alongside one another. The app seemed functional enough but it didn’t quite offer the view over my accounts that I was looking for.
You get four tabs across the top which allow you to switch between timeline, mentions, messages and profile views, but no ability to add additional columns such as the timeline of other accounts or a search result. When compared to other clients that have a similar view, such as Falcon and Carbon it just didn’t seem to offer the same level of functionality.
Verdict: Following behind.
The best Android Twitter Client?
I gave a couple of other clients a go towards the end of my testing period, but none of them really shone enough to edit them into my post. If you are interested in testing the full range then you should also install: Janetter (paid version is expensive at £4.99), Twicca (wasn’t a fan of the layout), and Chant (very basic).
As a Tweetdeck replacement, I’m torn between Tweetlanes, Ubersocial and Plume. I liked the feel of the former but the latter two have the functionality I am after. For someone who runs a single Twitter account then the official app is actually right up there at the moment and worth consideration, but I think I had a slight preference for Falcon.
It looks like I’ll be running a couple of clients for the foreseeable future and will be checking back on some of my other favourites as time progresses.
One things for sure, the Android market place is clearly alive and kicking with examples of apps rich in innovation, usability and functionality. It’s great to see so many great options and whilst this makes the choice harder it goes to show that the Android platform is pushing forward.