April 14, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka
Give me my $20! Last week, I bet our readers that Twitter would develop an official Android client. My hunch was a loaded assumption based on comments made by a Twitter investor/board member, and the move started to make more sense once Twitter acquired the company behind the best iPhone Twitter client, Tweetie.
At its Chirp developer conference, Twitter’s Evan Williams revealed that it will offer an official Android application. Williams said that the company will offer an official app on every platform in order to simplify the mobile experience for users “confused” by the many choices of Twitter apps. Mobile users will still have the option for using third-party apps, but Twitter wants to have a go-to official app in all mobile app stores.
Will Twitter build an official app from the ground up like it did on Blackberry or acquire an already popular app like it did for iPhone? I had a discussion with some of Androinica’s Twitter followers last Friday and their comments helped me guess that if an acquisition does it happen, it will be Twidroid or TweetsRide.
- Simplicity, stupid.
If you look at Twitter’s Blackberry and iPhone apps, you notice that both don’t go for overly-complicated designs. The interface seeks to be as simple and easy to navigate as Twitter’s desktop and mobile websites. That makes me think a design-heavy app like Touiteur might be less likely to fit that theme.
- The business aspect has to make sense.
It is incredibly unlikely that Twitter will gobble-up one of the big-name third party apps like HootSuite, Tweetcaster, or Seesmic because it goes against the overall strategy of those companies. HootSuite is for pros, Tweetcaster is owned by Handmark, and Seesmic wants to be a multi-platform tool. Maybe Twitter could surprise us and acquire one of them, but Seesmic’s founder made comments on Twitter that show he’s content being a hole-filler and not worried about competition.
- Twitter likes what works.
The Tweetie acquisition reveals that Twitter will likely target an app with a track record for popularity and usability. On the Android front, that leaves Tweetcaster, TweetsRide, Twidroid, Twicca, and Twigee. While I think Twigee is a great app, users have clearly shown a preference for the other remaining three. Twidroid has the looks and unofficial default status on its side, Twicca has the features, and TweetsRide has the speed.
My personal belief is that it’s a 50/50 toss-up between Twidroid and TweetsRide, so I’d like to double down my winnings and say that Twitter will select TweetsRide. It’s the fastest client and has a dead-simple interface that Twitter seems to favor. Not to mention that TweetsRide is a one-man show from a developer who already lives in the San Francisco area, so it may be easier to absorb that as the official app. Anyone willing to bet me double or nothing on their Monopoly money?