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I have recently recommended Tweetings, Reviewed: One Of The Best, Most Customizable Twitter Clients for Android Today Tweetings, Reviewed: One Of The Best, Most Customizable Twitter Clients for Android Today Twitter is loud. It is noisy, messy, fast, and random. But it can also be wonderfully human, inspiring, informative, and rewarding. It all depends on how you use it. Read More a wonderful Twitter client called Tweetings, which is my current client of choice for my own use. In the comments for that piece, several users noted that Tweetings is actually derived from free, open-source Twitter client Twidere. This is interesting because Tweetings costs $3 and has no free version, while Twidere is completely free and definitely shares some similarities (even though it comes from a different developer). I took Twidere for a spin to try and determine what difference $3 makes – is there even a reason to get Tweetings, or is Twidere a solid choice?

Installation and First Steps: Do You Wish To Be Tracked?

Since Twidere isn’t trying to sell you anything (you couldn’t pay for the app if you wanted), it can afford to be very upfront about several things right off the bat. When you first install the app, you get a forthright message from the developer setting out what you can expect, and whose fault it is:

twidere-1

This is an interesting look behind the scenes at how difficult Twitter is making the lives of client developers – in the words of this developer, Twitter is “about to kill third-party clients.” In terms of user experience, you can expect “rate limit exceeded” errors and other connectivity issues, but there is a workaround (detailed later on).

The other thing Twidere is being direct about is… tracking your every move:

twidere-2

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This tracking is actually opt out, meaning you are initially being tracked – and if you happen to dismiss the notification without realizing it, you’ll just keep getting tracked. At least Twidere is being extremely clear about what is getting tracked, and boy, that’s quite a bit: Your timeline, every time you click on a tweet, and your coarse location. Yikes. Good thing it’s easy to opt out. Next, let’s look at what using the app is like.

Black or White (But Not Time-Based)

Much like Tweetings, Twidere comes with both dark and light themes:

twidere-3

Unlike Tweetings, Twidere can’t switch between themes based on the time of day. You’ll have to pick one and stick with it (or else go to the settings and manually switch it every time, something few users would bother doing).

The tabbed interface works just like Tweetings’ one, and you can customize the tabs to some extent. You can’t change their order, but you can add new custom tabs.

Interacting With Tweets and Users

Next, let’s look at the timeline experience:

twidere-6

To the left you can see the context menu for one of your own tweets, and to the right is the menu for one of your friends’ tweets. The only difference is in being able to delete your own tweet – but both menus let you do basically anything you want without having to go into the individual tweet view.

If you do want to go into a single tweet, it looks like this:

twidere-7

This part of the app has one of the key differences between Twidere and Tweetings: Tweetings has a built-in browser that lets you open links right in the app, and view them in a mobile-friendly, readable way. Twidere lacks any such feature – if you want to read a link, you’re just going to have to open it in your browser (not such a bad thing, given the intense competition between Android browsers Dolphin, Chrome, Firefox Browsers For Android Get Updates Dolphin, Chrome, Firefox Browsers For Android Get Updates It seems that developers of internet browsers on Android have been busy as the major browsers have all released new updates. Read More which means you probably have a decent browser installed). As you can see above, though, you do get inline image previews. And no, I don’t know whether or not that image was photoshopped (let me know in the comments).

Next let’s look at an individual user page:

twidere-5

Again, we get a view that’s quite similar to Tweetings, but more limited. Notably missing is the option to mute a user’s retweets – that’s actually a great way to hear what a user has to say, but not what they have to retweet (surprisingly useful, and something I haven’t seen in other clients). You can set a color for the user, as well as do everything else you’d expect (add them to a list, block them, and so on).

Settings Galore

If you’ve looked at the Tweetings review, you won’t be surprised to discover the wealth of settings Twidere puts at your disposal. This is one of the few areas in which Twidere is actually better than Tweeting:

twidere-4

Above you can see the Look and feel settings screen, and its sample tweet. As you change the text size and other settings, you see the sample tweet updating in real-time, making it easy to get the look you want without having to switch back and forth between the app and the settings. This is a major advantage, and something I really wish Tweetings had as well.

Remember those rate limits? Twidere includes a way to work around them:

twidere-8

To the right you can see the Network configuration screen, with its Consumer key and Consumer secret fields. Twidere’s Google Play page links to a gist on Github from which you can copy a consumer key and secret that would help avoid the rate limits (That’s the workaround I told you about at the outset of the post). That doesn’t sound very friendly, but such is the way of Twitter’s API these days, making users jump through hoops to do what originally gave the platform its power (i.e, consume it any way they like).

Not As Polished, But Packs Plenty of Power

Using Twidere is a pleasant experience, but frankly, it’s not as nice as Tweetings. I noticed some visual glitches on my device, and not everything worked perfectly. For a free product, that’s par for the course – and it is a powerful Twitter client many users can be happy with. My advice is that you check it out, but if you don’t like it, that doesn’t mean you won’t like Tweetings. Of course, there are many, many clients out there (at least for now), so you may want to check out this list of 5 amazing Twitter clients Is The Best Known Also The Best? 5 Lesser-Known Twitter Clients You Should Try [Android] Is The Best Known Also The Best? 5 Lesser-Known Twitter Clients You Should Try [Android] So you're looking for a good way to browse Twitter on your Android device. Which app should you go for? You may need to look beyond the list of most popular apps. Google Play hides... Read More to try as well (four, technically speaking, because Twidere is one of those listed).

What did you think about Twidere? And about the state of third-party Twitter clients in general? Let me know in the comments.

  1. Mariotaku Lee
    December 21, 2013 at 10:09 am

    I uploaded a new version of Twidere with brand new design, try it.

  2. JohnA
    December 6, 2013 at 1:23 am

    I've only come across this site recently and I have to say, you have some very interesting articles, especially the Android stuff. Definitely added to my RSS feed. Keep up the good work.

    • Erez Z
      December 8, 2013 at 11:53 am

      Thank you, John! :)

  3. Roger
    December 5, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    You do realise Tweetings Android, iPhone, iPad, etc is also just one developer too

    • Demola
      December 9, 2013 at 1:24 pm

      Yes, I do. And I also realize twidere gives his product away for free. Tweetings takes that products, adds a little and sells.

  4. Demola
    December 5, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    My favorite twitter client. Hands down. I remember insisting on a review of Twidere on the Tweetings post because I felt the developer (yes, one developer) needed the exposure and recognition.

    Tweetings adds a lot to the package, I must admit, but not enough for me shell out cash. Encouraging twidere's developer can be done from his github account.

    Being an open source project, I hope developers can contribute to a project I can only describe as wonderful.

    • Demola
      December 9, 2013 at 1:25 pm

      There is an update to Twidere. Removes support for devices older than ICS and with a new look. I love it.

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