January 23, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka
Twitter? Twitter. Twitter! If you haven’t been wrapped up in the sea of Tweets forming, you will soon. Micro-blogging service Twitter has gone from a web company’s internal communication tool to a popular social networking platform, with a set of Android apps that keep it in your hands at all times.
There seems to be a trend in the Android Market that every app is likely to have at least one, if not four, twins that provide the same essential function. Twitter is no different thanks to six different common apps that take advantage of the fashionable service.
Twitter enables members to share 140-character blogs called tweets. Early adopters were tech workers, but media folks, bloggers, college students, political organizations, and everyone short of the Pope — whoops, spoke too soon — have gotten in on the act. CNN anchor Rick Sanchez is fond of incorporating Twitter on his newscasts, and CBS and NPR even encouraged Android users to tweet during the 2009 Presidential Inauguration.
To get twit happy on Android, register an account at Twitter.com and then decide which of these Twitter clients is most worth writing about – or with.
The T-Mobile G1′s internal memory is offensively small, so letting one app store too much space is simply unacceptable. aTweeter‘s developer wisely chose to give users the option of clearing the app’s cache or saving tweets onto the microSD card — hint, hint, Google. The dark interface isn’t easy on the eyes, but the functionality is sound. ATweeter automatically translates other languages into English for multilingual users who may prefer to read updates in that language. Be advised that this slows down the refresh rate, however. Since Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters, the URL shortening feature will come in handy. ATweeter sends direct messages, replies, ReTweets updates when desired, and provides a decent Twit experience on the phone.
Twidroid sports the prettiest interface among Twitter apps. Unlike many of its counterparts, there is a consistent theme of colors choices that is good to look at. Beauty isn’t skin-deep as Twidroid is also a strong app with great features. The two things that most set it apart are the “Faves” and “Search” capabilities. With Faves, users can mark interesting tweets that they want to store for future reference. Clicking the star icon will store the update as a “fave” that can be reviewed and then removed hours or days later. Search is a self-explanatory feature that scours the net for posts that contain key terms. This can be a great way to learn about other people’s perspective and find interesting people worth following. Though Twidroid occasionally experiences refresh problems, it’s a feature-heavy, visually-appealing app worth having.
NanoTweeter is as close as a Twitter application can come to perfection yet still miss the core function of the micro-blogging service. This sounds strange but it’s true. NanoTweeter lacks the ability to Tweet within the application so anyone hoping to share their thoughts will have to launch Twitter in the Android browser. Though all apps update with customizable frequency, only this one displays tweets within the notification; customizes alerts through sounds, vibrations, and lights; and checks for direct messages and replies. Best of all, it can be set to not provide updates from people who post too much or even only follow a certain set of users. NanoTweeter will quickly step ahead of the pack if it ever allows tweets and full-message reading.
Twitli looks like the simplest app of its class, but ironically comes with two very useful features. It notifies users of new followers and provides an option to follower their updates or anyone else. The ability to isolate “@replies” will become especially useful as the number of people you follow increases. The lightweight interface is a big plus because it doesn’t distract and is easy to read. Twitli can take photos with a cell phone camera, upload the picture to Flickr or Google Photos, and then post a link on Twitter. You can instantly share that funny t-shirt spotted in the mall or a photo of a burning building downtown. Sounds like a nifty feature, right? Too bad it hardly ever works. Twitli successfully uploads photos to Picasa (Google Photos) but then brings up ‘Force close’ messages, forcing me to log into Picasa, copy the URL, and then tweet it. Twitli is an otherwise worthwhile app, so download it and cross your fingers that you won’t experience the same problem.
Ideally, we’d all benefit from an app that combined the best features from all of these programs into one superapp. Maybe we should all tweet about that idea and hope some developer reads it.