Let's be clear about this: developers don't have any kind of obligation to update their apps for the Android L preview release. It's a preview - by definition, it's not ready for prime time, and developers shouldn't have to immediately treat it like consumer software. That said, it's nice to see that some have already begun to prepare for the full Android L release later this year. Even relatively large players like Twitter are getting in on the action.
The primary Twitter app available on the Play Store is currently crashing when installed on Android L preview releases. But the beta build, available via the Google Groups program, has been given a speedy update just a few days after the release of Android L at Google I/O.
January is generally held as a gloomy month, a time when there's nothing but slush on the ground and crap in the movie theaters. But it gave us more than a few fine apps, which you should take the opportunity to peruse. If you don't feel like meticulously combing through our massive bi-weekly app roundups, we've gathered the best of the best right here. Dig in, why don't you?
12Hours is one of those ideas that's so brilliantly simple you wonder why no one has done it already. The basic idea is an analog clock (the one you had to learn in first grade) with color-coded sections indicating the upcoming events on your calendar.
If you use the official Twitter app for Android... dear God, why are you using the official Twitter app for Android? Stop reading this story and go download a better client. If you simply can't be torn away from mediocrity, you'll find a few new options the next time you update Twitter in the Play Store. Chief among them is a new crop tool, with easy shortcuts to Square ("Instagram mode"), Wide, and Original.
According to Twitter's blog post on the update, you should see reminders to @reply friends before you post, which didn't happen for me (maybe you need photos of people).
Talon is the latest third-party Twitter client to fly into the Play Store, and while the competition may be fierce, there's always room for something new to claw its way in and do things a different way. This particular offering comes to us from Klinker Apps, the makers of Sliding Messaging, and prides itself on having superb KitKat integration. This means users fortunate enough to have Android 4.4 can enjoy a Twitter feed that rolls under translucent system bars, functionality that Google introduced in the latest version of the OS that has yet to make its way into many apps.
Flashier Twitter apps have come and gone, but I'm still pretty enamored with Plume. One reason is that the developer (LevelUp, of Beautiful Widgets fame) is constantly rolling out new features, and today's update adds a doozie: push notifications. You should get notifications for new tweets, replies, mentions, and messages more or less instantly, and the widget and main feed can now use a "Live Stream" mode.
The service experimented with push background notifications before, but the developer wasn't satisfied with the battery-hungry feature. The new implementation shouldn't have a negative impact on your battery. The feature is off by default in Plume 5.4: to enable push notifications and "live streaming" in the main app view and widget, go to Settings, General, Live Stream Mode, and set it to Always.
Twitter is an awesome social discovery tool, but its implementation is fairly static. Even whiz-bang Twitter clients like the unfortunate Falcon Pro still present tweets in ye olde vertical column layout. Twheel (stylized "twheel") aims to bring a more innovative approach to Twitter. Tweets are presented in a wheel (natch) with 30 visible at any given time. Color-coordinated tags and bars let you see which ones are getting the most attention on Twitter, and sliding your finger around lets you highlight individual tweets to read them at the top of the screen.
Navigating through your stream's history is a bit odd.
Twitter for Android had been updated to version 3.3, adding support for Twitter's new "expanded tweet" feature, as well as account-specific push notifications. You can now select any account you're following, and using the drop down menu, choose to receive push notifications whenever that account makes a new tweet. Pretty awesome stuff.
Auto-complete for user searches has become smarter as well, and you can now tap on the avatar of any account from a tweet to go directly to the user page. I've been waiting for that for a while. Oh, and the app now has Twitter's new sideways-Twitter-bird logo.
Twitter for Android has been updated to 3.2, and brings a bevy of changes, the most important being much-needed push notifications for retweets, favorites, and new followers.
The icons at the top of the app have also been changed up, and are slightly larger (the Home icon actually looks a bit different), along with other minor UI changes. The Discover tab has been completely revamped according to the changelog, as well, which you can see below:
What's in this version:
Updated design and improved relevance of Discover stories
Activity in Discover tab shows who your connections follow, updates to their lists, and which Tweets they retweet and favorite
Spelling suggestions and related searches in search results
Username autocomplete in search
New push notifications for when your Tweets have been retweeted, favorited, or when you have new followers
New languages: Traditional Chinese, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Polish, Hungarian, Thai
In the increasingly crowded market for Twitter clients on Android, another big player is about to jump into the fray - Carbon. You may know Carbon from its days on WebOS, but now that HP's mobile operating system is little more than an open source zombie, Carbon's developers are looking for a new (and more profitable) home.
While the app is already available on Windows Phone 7, that version is styled quite differently from the upcoming Android version, shown in the video below.
As you can see, Carbon is an app with a rich (and unique) user interface, with lots of animated flourishes on top of some recognizable Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich design elements.
We've talked about a few different Twitter clients designed specifically for Honeycomb in the past, but none have been so anticipated as Tweetcaster HD. The standard Tweetcaster (for phones) has been a long time favorite app of Twitter users because of it's super-rad zip it feature, which gives you the ability to block tweets by keyword, so you can ignore annoying tweets without having to un-follow anyone. Now, along with several other nice features, you can have this functionality on your Honeycomb tablet!
Aside from Zip It, you can also color code tweets, retweet with or without comments, view @replies in a conversation style breakdown, and much more.