First Look at TweetDeck for Android

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TweetDeck is one of those apps I have open all day long, as I follow my friends’ tweets every chance I get. The multi-column approach of TweetDeck sets it apart from other desktop clients, and makes it a very useful way to interact with Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Foursquare and MySpace. Until now, the app had a mobile client for only the iPhone and the iPad, but a beta Android version will be out tomorrow. I’ve been running an early beta on my EVO 4G for a while, and the following is my quick take on TweetDeck for Android.

I should start by pointing out this is a very early beta version of TweetDeck for Android, and lots of features that will make it into the final product are not implemented yet. It’s been stable for me, howver, so I recommend giving it a try if you’re a TweetDeck fan like I am.

The Android version follows the multiple column format of TweetDeck, with one update column onscreen at a time. Swiping to the side slides the adjacent column onto the display for interaction. The columns available in this beta are Home (timeline), Me (mentions) and Direct Messages.

The Home column is the standard TweetDeck timeline showing updates, with additional functionality. On the Android version, the Home column is a blended timeline, combining updates from all social networks the user has defined in the app. This currently covers Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, and Google Buzz. Updates for each service are displayed in the Home screen, each in a unique color:

  • Twitter- dark charcoal
  • Facebook- dark blue
  • Foursquare- light blue
  • Buzz- dark red

The Me column is the standard TweetDeck Mentions column, displaying all tweets where the defined user is mentioned specifically. It’s also augmented in the Android version to show information from the other networks: Facebook (likes and disklikes) and Buzz updates on the user’s content.

This early beta is limited in function, but the developers will make incremental updates over the next few weeks to bring it up to speed. Network accounts defined in TweetDeck for Android cannot currently be removed, so don’t add them unless you’re sure you want them for the time being.

There’s also no way to set the background notification interval, so if you don’t want TweetDeck using network access at will, you need to Quit the app through the Menu button while it’s running. There’s no way to change the display settings, and currently, tweets appear awfully large on the screen. This has the unfortunate result of allowing only a few items to display at once, a big limitation. Hopefully, the TweetDeck folks will provide a way to customize this soon.

Overall, this has been very stable for such an early beta version. Operation is fast and smooth, and I’ve not run into any killer bugs. I can barely wait for the developers to flesh out TweetDeck for the Android platform.

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): To Win In the Mobile Market, Focus On Consumers

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