From a micro blogging space to a breaking news medium, a product publicity portal to just a good old space for like minded people to engage in discussions and critiques, there are many facets to Twitter. With over half a million subscribers, it’s one of the fastest growing social networking medium and definitely the most relevant. Another number growing pretty fast is the number of 3rd party Twitter clients on Google’s Android ecosystem.
While the popular heavyweights like Plume, Uber Social, Twicca, Tweetcaster still remain relevant, there is a newer breed of feature rich, lightweight Twitter clients which are making their mark on the landscape. One such app is Twidere, a beautiful Holo-themed application which, while being lightweight in size, is a breeze when it comes to speed and functionality.
While the app is still under development and several features are expected to be added, Twidere is stocked well enough to be used as your default app for tweeting. Sporting all the usual bells and whistles of conventional Twitter mobile apps, it comes with an insane number of customising options to tailor it to your tweeting needs.
Alongside basic functionalities like tweeting, retweeting, sending direct messages, user and tweets search, it also supports auto-completion of usernames, inline image previews, auto-shortening of urls, muting a user, auto-refresh of the timelines, multi-accounts and customisable notifications.
The first couple of things you will notice when you open Twidere are its beauty and speed, both of them being of paramount importance according to me when it comes to a mobile app. Based on the Holo theme, the interface is minimal and convenient.
Clicking on a tweet opens up a context menu which allows you to perform basic functions like reply, retweet, quote, favourite, share, copy, view etc. The detailed single tweet view allows one to view the whole conversation and preview the attached links and images, along with the above options. The images can be viewed as a thumbnail or in a translucent full screen view and there are options to adjust the font size, assign a specific color to different users for easy identification and a transparent compose button at the bottom of the screen.
The compose screen allows you to attach photos, shorten hyperlinks, save messages as drafts along with options for auto-completion of usernames and hashtags. The tweet compose box also features a character count at the bottom right corner helping you keep an eye on the character limit.
One of the hallmarks of this app is the fact that it supports options for custom tabs. So, along with the default timeline, mentions, direct messages and account columns, you could have a tab for your lists, followers, and people following you, saved searches, trending topics or even the timeline of a favourite user of yours. The navigation between the columns is through swiping right and left and it’s seamless and smooth.
A visit to the settings tab opens up various other customisations, such as the following:
- Selection of theme from light and dark variants
- An option for a solid color background to save battery on AMOLED screens
- Extensions such as Twitlonger, .imgur and timescape
- Custom filter based on users, keywords or sources
- Custom font size, inline image preview
- Name and profile image display options
- Dual pane layout
- GZIP compressing to reduce data traffic
- Connection timeout and proxy
- Custom content to refresh and notify
- Auto refresh options designed to save battery
- Refresh on start and tweet
- Notifications type
- Hardware acceleration.
Twidere lacks some important features like profile editing, support for posting tweets longer than 140 characters, auto predictions in compose screen, and home screen widgets — there is an extension for widgets in the Play Store but I could not get it to work for me. However, the fact that the app is still under development and there are regular updates with most of these features being on the developer’s radar gives you sufficient hope.
But even so, the missing features notwithstanding, Twidere is a delight to use and is completely reliable and efficient to be used as your default Twitter app.