TweetDeck is one of the most popular Twitter clients, having started on the desktop before moving onto the web and onto mobile. One of its high points is its ability to create a custom experience tailored to you depending on your usage of social networks.
TweetDeck supports Twitter, Facebook, Buzz and Foursquare on Android, just like its desktop counterparts. It also fits into TweetDeck’s online sync/accounts system so you can carry your accounts straight onto your handset with minimal setup.
To start off, you’ll need to connect your social media accounts to the app. You can do so from your TweetDeck sync account so all your pre-configured accounts can be brought across from other platforms or the desktop. Alternatively, you can manually add your Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz or Foursquare accounts through your handset.
Immediately, once you’re up and connected, you can start to explore your feeds. The first option on the bottom row allows you send your update, attaching pictures and locations if you want. Swiping on the tabular tweet view will allow you navigate between the different mechanisms of the social network (for Twitter: your timeline, mentions and direct messages). You can add additional columns by tapping on the plus sign on the bottom row too.
There isn’t any news on whether MySpace, LinkedIn, or other networks that are supported on the desktop will be supported in the TweetDeck app, especially as it only came out of beta late last year. Multiple user accounts are supported in the latest version, something that wasn’t available in the early betas.
After setting up your interface and accounts, there are several other options you can alter in the menu. In Column Settings, you can adjust the update cycle from three- to 60-minute refreshes (or opt for manual only). You can also set sounds and vibrates to occur when new tweets are available. A final, fourth option allows you to make the notification LED flash (I assume, at least).
You can also adjust the columns’ text size, a user interface option that is becoming increasingly available across platforms and apps. Disappointingly, though, you cannot scroll through tweet columns with your phone’s optical trackball.
When scrolling through the columns, you can select a single tweet and gain additional options. Once you load up an individual tweet, you can read it again, and view source and timing details, as well as the conversation that it is a part of. The three buttons below it allow you to reply, retweet or favorite it. The final dropdown button allows you to share, translate and copy the tweet (or the URL in the tweet). If you’ve selected your own tweet, you also get the option to delete it.
TweetDeck opts for the dark-colored scheme but unfortunately, you don’t get the option to create a custom scheme like in the desktop app. However, whilst Twitter’s tweets have a dark grey background, Foursquare goes light blue, Facebook statuses are dark blue and Google Buzz’s buzzes(?) are light red. Once you’ve got used to this UI, it becomes a little easier to differentiate.
Also, the “swiping columns” interface will grow on you eventually. Unfortunately though, this will be a lot easier to learn as the only custom columns available are search-based ones.
TweetDeck chose the bottom tabs switcher a la iPhone, which means it’s a lot easier to navigate with your thumb.
Tweetdeck Vs. Twitter for Android
TweetDeck will be a significantly different experience than the official Twitter app for Android. Twitter for Android uses a very clean, blue and white user interface over TweetDeck’s dark grey design — though this certainly isn’t a disadvantage to either app.
Also, I found TweetDeck to be slightly smoother to operate than its official counterpart. However, it really depends on what kind of interface you prefer. Twitter’s official app requires you to “go back” to navigate between Tweets, Mentions etc. but TweetDeck opts for the scrolling mechanism.
Twitter does choose to not use the tabbed navigation bar at the bottom, which frees up more space for tweets.
TweetDeck is certainly a viable alternative to the official Twitter app but both function in similar ways. It’s hard to judge which one is better, as it’s all down to personal choice. Do you prefer a swipe-based UI (maybe any WP7 to Android switchers might appreicate that ;)) or something with feedback in the form of constantly pressing BACK.
One great advantage is the ability to sync your accounts between TweetDeck on alternative platforms — obviously more useful to those that use TweetDeck elsewhere. However, i’m not too keen on TweetDeck’s implementation of refreshing.
What’s your favorite Twitter solution on Android? Please elaborate in the comments. And don’t forget to follow @droidappstorm