Twitter makes a lot of sense on smartphones — the 140-character format is brief enough and suitable for smaller screens. Add to that the variety of quality Twitter clients available for Android and you can have a great social networking experience in the palm of your hand. Could things get any better?
The wunderkind behind Minimal Reader Pro (the brilliant Google Reader widget) seems to think so. Developer Joaquim Vergès and designer Jesse Coletta have come up with Falcon for Twitter (beta), a new Twitter widget that brings all the functionality you need to get your tweet on, right to your home screen. Is this your next favorite Twitter app or just the flavor of the week? Let’s take a closer look to find out.
Still in beta, Falcon is a 4×4 home screen widget that allows you to view your Twitter feed at a glance, receive notifications, consume shared content from those you follow and let the world know what’s on your mind. Falcon is designed to be easy to read and use, without disrupting your device’s home screen aesthetic.
Falcon has plenty of features that will make you wonder whether you even need your usual Twitter client any more. Choose from a list or grid layout and any of four themes (dark, light, transparent and translucent) to get started. Once you’ve logged in, you can begin to read tweets from those you follow, and tap on any tweet to view its linked content, or retweet, reply, share or favorite it.
You can also compose new tweets, view your favorites and direct messages, check out other users’ profiles and receive notifications when you’re mentioned by someone else. Falcon handles all this very well, with an elegant UI to boot.
Options, Options, Options…
If you like your widgets to appear and behave just so, Falcon is what you’ve been looking for. There are several options that you can configure to your liking, beginning with setting a refresh rate and toggling notifications and alert sounds/vibrations. You can also adjust the text size, set a color accent for the translucent and transparent themes, and switch between a 12 and 24-hr timestamp format.
If you’re really finicky, you can customize the user experience by toggling the unread tweet indicator, choose to scroll to the last unread position after every refresh, set a mobilized browser as default for viewing content and also decide when to download content — on WiFi or mobile data networks. Falcon also has some neat touches like scrolling to the top when the empty portion of the menu bar is tapped, and opening your Twitter app of choice when the widget’s logo is clicked.
Ready to Launch?
Falcon is shaping up very nicely indeed, and does a lot of things well, particularly the media viewing — which allows you to view web pages and video right within the widget itself — and rivals third-party clients in many cases. There are a few things I’d love to see in Falcon when it’s finally ready:
- A choice of widget sizes
- Options to mute and filter tweets by keyword, hashtag or user
- Gesture support to favorite, retweet or reply to tweets quickly
Other than that, Falcon for Twitter is a wonderful widget that’s a must-have for every Twitter user out there. The nimble team is hard at work making changes and fixes, and usually respond quickly to feedback and queries on Twitter (@Falcon_Android) and via email, so be sure to give it a try and let them know what you think.