December 8, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Call me crazy, but I’m really liking the changes made in the latest version of the Twitter app. Sure, I know most of you have pledged allegiance to Twicca, Tweetcaster, or something similar (I’m a Plume man), but there are a few things to love in the latest edition of Twitter for Android.
Today Twitter announced that it was simplifying its products in order to provide better access to content, make discovery easier, and provide context for tweets. The desktop changes will be rolling out soon, but Twitter for Android has already been updated to reflect that goal. The interface has a little more blue and black, rounded edges, and changes that should make it faster and more enjoyable to read Twitter on the mobile. Here are some of those changes.
Home / Tweets
This is your usual timeline/stream of tweets posted by people you follow. Nothing much has changed here other than some visual tweaks and an icon to indicate that a tweet has additional media like a photo. Speaking of which, there’s less reasons to leave the app in the new tweet view.
Replies to a tweet are also seen below, which should cut back on the amount of time spent tapping and viewing. It’s easier to see how people respond to a tweet, and an “In reply to…” link appears in case you want to go to what started the conversation. From this same window, you can see who has retweeted or favorited that message.
What was previously the @Replies screen is now Connect. This shows your mentions, retweets, tweets someone favorites, and when someone has followed you. This feature has been on desktops for a while and is available now within the app. It also has a search bar for a person or his/her tweets.
The Discover tab is where users will find trending topics, search for a keyword or hashtag, get suggestions for new users to follow, and browse categories.
There’s also a section called “Stories” within this tab that highlights big news that you may not have heard. Major stories in sports, entertainment, and breaking news are highlighted (both the source that broke the news and the subsequent tweets discussing it).
The Me tab is where users get to be vein and focus on the person they care about most (kidding, of course). It has profile information, direct messages, drafts, saved searches, lists, and a link to change settings or switch accounts – though I’d recommend just pressing Menu from any screen to do either.
After playing with this app during lunch, I think it’s safe to say that this is the best iteration of the official Twitter app yet. Aside from looking better, it’s faster and smoother than I remember the last time I gave the app a shot. It’s too early to tell if people will forsake their existing third-party app for this one, but it makes the best case Twitter mobile ever has. Most people are probably too entrenched in the way their favorite app operates to give it up, but the people who have embraced the official app finally have a stronger case for saying why they stick with the default gateway to tweets.