Update: February 4 with Carbon.
Think that the official Twitter app for Android sucks, or have you just outgrown it and need some better features – like tweet muting or Facebook integration? Do you want to have a snappier or even better-designed Twitter client? There are a lot of clients out there – but it seems for Android, there isn’t a go-to alternative to the official one.
For iOS, it is Tweetbot; and for Windows Phone, it’s Carbon. But for Android – that’s hard to say. There are several, but what are they? Which one is the best? We decided to collate all the best alternative clients we have found. Some have been chosen because of their design, some because of the features (that is why you see Tweetcaster on the list).
Falcon Pro is an update to another Twitter client called Falcon. However, unlike Falcon, this one is an actual app as opposed to a full featured widget on the home screen. Chris Southcott recently brought this app to our attention, and from all accounts he does like it.
There are some things not included that are featured in some of the above – namely lists and trends support, muting and multiple accounts. The interface might need a bit of work (again, refer to the Holo UI designs above, like Boid), though it is surprisingly snappy. Also is great is having a little browser window when you see an individual tweet with a link – eliminating the need to go through another app. In Chris Southcott’s opinion, it is the best Twitter app money can buy, even challenging TweetBot. For $0.99, the value is crazy, and the developer support is unprecedented. I’d say buy it.
Boid’s main purpose was to create a beautiful and simple Android 4.0 Twitter client that used the Holo theme (the UI design of Android). And it does look really beautiful. Of course, it does support multiple accounts, and gives you the option to choose your photo upload service (like Twitter, yfrog and even CloudApp). Unlike the official app, it does allow you to mute (in fact, most of these apps will have that) – meaning that you can clean from your feed mentions of certain hashtags or users temporarily.
I should note that the developers have said that it will stop developing it further (it will still update the app) as it feels that “it has accomplished its original goal of crating change in favour of better apps in the Android app market.” It has open-sourced the project for the community to take over.
Plume promotes itself to be a customisable Twitter client – allowing you to edit columns; along with other common features like muting, inline media previews and multiple accounts support. Again, this uses the Holo UI that is featured from Android 3.0 onwards, but while it does look nice, I prefer the minimalism of Boid.
Some other features include Facebook integration – meaning that you don’t have to use the official Facebook app either – and has a widget for you to display your timeline on the home screen. Plume also features a nice interface for tablets (unlike the official app) where it will show three columns, instead of one.
If you want the basics only (e.g. just view and post tweets), then Tweedle is better than the official Twitter app. It’s really fast and snappy (though, that said, I’m running this on the Galaxy S III). However, for those wanting more, developers have said that they will soon add support for trends and lists, and multiple accounts; mute filtering and will have a better interface for tablets.
What is interesting is the level of customisation for the theme. You can pretty much modify every little detail and personalise it to your taste. Change the colour of the Action Bar, make it flat or have a pattern, and even change the colour of the scrollbar. Of course, you also get presets if you’re not that creative.
It may be simple, but sometimes being simple is a good thing. Oh, did we mention it has no ads and is free?
TweetCaster is probably the best known Twitter client for many Android users (other than the official client itself). And it packs a lot of features – such as having its own search feature, photo effects on the fly, and a statistics measuring tool. This is on top of the usual multiple accounts support, Facebook integration and scheduled tweets. Heck, you can even speak your tweets to it (it uses Google’s own voice service).
While I am not the fan of the interface design (I prefer Boid’s one – that is cleaner), the list of features do make it more attractive to power users who have outgrown or now no longer like the official Twitter client.
It comes in two flavours – a free version, and a Pro version that has no ads.
twicca is a Japanese Twitter client that features similar features to other clients above (search, geotagging, trends, muting) with some experimental features like multiple accounts support. However, it stands out from the crowd because of two things – the interface and the plugins.
twicca’s design isn’t based on Holo, but it is very minimalist with the four buttons at the bottom (new post, replies, direct messages, refresh) placed on top of a gradient fade. However, there is no “pull to reload” feature – you must reload manually to see new tweets.
Twidere is another Japanese-made Twitter client, but this one is open source. Again, it has the pretty much basic items like multiple accounts, filters, and inline media previews. Twidere also has supports tablets, and allows you to customise the tabs.
However, while Twidere looks good in terms of its user interface; some tasks are a bit complicated than others. Editing the tabs, for instance, is a complicated mess – especially when you want to add a Twitter list. However, a majority of tasks are simple and easy to use; and most, unless it is required, don’t use Twitter lists. They would just follow the person.
Like twicca, Twidere allows you to add extensions. Some extensions made by the developer include adding imgur upload support, adding a home widget, support for TwitLonger and even a plugin to let you use plugins from twicca.
Like TweetCaster, UberSocial is one of the big players in the Twitter client area. And of course, it features the basic multiple accounts support, inline media preview, column customisation, themes, and muting. However, it also adds extras such as photo filters, Facebook integration and an “Inner Circle” list, where you add key people to keep track of. You can even search for tweets based on your location – whether or not that is a tad creepy, it’s up to you.
We should also note that UberSocial has had a few issues with Twitter in the past; and Twitter is not afraid to pull the plug on its API access over policy violations without warning. That was back in 2011 – and it appears now, hopefully, the relationship between the two are back to being friendly.
It comes in two flavours – a free version, and a “Pro” version to remove advertising.
Update by Chris Southcott – February 4, 2013
Carbon was almost feared dead until it was released this morning and, upon first look, it seems like a competitive entry in the Twitter for Android race. With a lot of graphically-intensive animations, it’s amazing how smooth the app runs. Although, for now, it’s hard to tell whether it’s any better than Falcon and, months after starting Falcon daily, the UI of Falcon has grown on me. This just feels a bit empty. However, it works well and if you want the most-Holo-like app, maybe give Carbon a try.
For free, it’s great.