The bright minds at Twitter sat down and decided that we need more circles, rounded corners and strong looks in the already not-so-exciting Twitter app for Android. The end result is a more uniform look across all platforms, desktop (Twitter web and Tweetdeck) and mobile (Twitter Lite, Twitter for iOS and Twitter for Android), hence less confusion for users accessing the service, particularly newbies. To give credit where it’s due, though, the updated Twitter app is much cleaner and less cluttered.
That’s all good until you get to the point where it alienates those of us who had already been pushed to the edge by Twitter’s hostility towards developers and third party apps, in-app ads in the form of promoted tweets and trends and the latest bombshell, updated privacy settings.
Luckily, there is no shortage of options to anyone looking for an exit route from Twitter’s new app.
Personally, I have employed the use of some of these third-party Twitter apps for a while now but have been forced to keep Twitter’s official app installed because of features like Highlights, Moments and the ability to create and take part in Twitter polls.
Flamingo is my top choice for a third-party Twitter app.
It has a very clean user interface, a read later feature and I love that it always asks me to confirm before sending a retweet. Its media player interface is just the best and always reminds me of that of PocketCasts, my favourite podcast application. Oh, and for those who are really into the old days of Twitter, there’s still an old style “RT”.
What’s more, for those who are data conscious, which really should be us all since Flamingo can be such a data guzzler, it gives users some data management options in the settings (Timeline Sync) so that the app fetches new tweets when it is needed to, there is a proxy option in case one needs to hide their tracks and for those who use popular Android third-party launcher Nova, a way to make sure they never miss an alert with an unread notification counter. Oh, and you get to see from which client/app everyone is tweeting from. 2011 all over again.
Other than being a terrific data guzzler when left unchecked, Flaming is also a paid app. As such, users have to part with Kshs 200 to purchase it on the Play Store and a further Kshs 200 per extra Twitter account they wish to use with the app after logging into the third one. Excellence comes at a cost but in Flamingo’s case that may be a bit steep for some.
Fenix, aka everyone’s favourite Twitter app, will soon be getting a much-deserved redesign in the form of Fenix 2.
Before that happens, though, users can enjoy the good old Fenix app which has served me so well for the 3 years that I have been actively using it, that is if you had already bought Fenix prior to its delisting from the Play Store after it hit Twitter’s silly token limit.
If you hadn’t gotten used to Fenix before then you are in luck. The upcoming version 2 of the app, which will be a whole new app, is available for everyone to test drive. Sign up for the beta here and download it from the Play Store. You won’t regret it.
3. Talon for Twitter
Talon for Twitter is the second take of the popular Twitter app Talon which has been around for a few years now. Thanks to Twitter’s token restrictions, the developer had no choice but to release the Material Design update for Talon as another standalone application. Of course, the developer came under fire for abandoning those of us who had supported his earlier efforts but what else could we do really?
For Kshs 300, if you opt to pay, you get properly organized tweets that can be viewed in custom swipeable pages, lots of colours/theme options, a native YouTube and Twitter video player in-app (though it’s not as attractive as Flamingo’s) and the ability to have a nearly similar experience on your wrist, if you have an Android Wear device.
The only downside to Talon is, do you really need to pay Kshs 300 just to tweet? Maybe, if you are like me and cherish the rich experience, good looks and all that it brings to the table. I mean, older apps like TweetCaster have been asking for more than that. Also, while Flamingo, which costs less, by the way, will let you add up to 3 accounts before it needs you to pay up, you only get to add two Twitter accounts without having to pay more.
Unfortunately, all the apps highlighted here are paid apps. Even Fenix 2 preview, which is currently free, will be a paid app once the testing period is over.
That doesn’t mean, however, that there is a shortage of free Twitter apps to make you unhappily stuck with the official app. No. There are some decent Twitter apps on the Play Store, just that I find the ones highlighted here incredibly satisfying and there’s no denying that they fulfill all aspects of a decent app.
Don’t get me wrong, like any other Kenyan out there, I love my free stuff. Who doesn’t want to save an extra coin when they can? But guess what, developers are people too and for all these amazing apps they come up with, it’s only fair that we acknowledge the great work that they do by paying for their services when we can.
Header image: marketingland.com