What I’d like to see in Tweetdeck for Android

Tweetdeck have released there Android app to the public, but it’s Beta, and it’s got a lot missing. Here are my thoughts on the Tweetdeck app for Android and what it needs to displace the likes of seesmic, Tweetdecks arch rival and more platform specific apps such as Twidroyd.

Now, I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve tried pretty much most of the Twitter apps available for Android, Seesmic, Twidroyd, Touiteur, HTC Peep, Twitter’s own app (basic), Twicca (pretty), Swift (fastest), TweetCaster (horrid), so I’m pretty sure I can comment on which ones work and which ones don’t.

We’ll start with the what’s good first and there’s several things, first up it’s not yet in the market so you have to download it from here (don’t forget to set the allow any app to be installed check box). This means you’ll have to watch twitter for notifcations of a newer version as you won’t be alerted by a little shopping bag just yet.

The yellow bar highlighting what’s new is a nice touch, the yellow dot’s near the top left and right also highlight new information that’s arrived in the specific columns is nice, but I’m not sure how long it’ll take before it get’s tedious.

The integration of all the feeds into the single stream is done very well, the colour coding makes it easy for you to spot what’s from which service, Facebook blue, buzz red and so on. Signing in is a breeze too, just sign in with your tweetdeck account and boom all your services are sync’d across.

The little twitter bird is nice, I like the bird in the notification bar rather some strange logo, so nicer that both Seesmic and it’s mutant Raccoon and Twidroyds dancing alien. When a post fails, the logo is upside down, a dead bird, pretty humorous.

Now the room for improvement bits, yes I know it’s a beta app and it looks like updates are happening quickly too it. One of the items I was going to point out was how large the font was and how it limited what you could see on a single screen. But within the last few hours that’s been fixed and the latest build has font size adjustment. I’m not sure if the The tweet which font size you use is a gimick or a nice way of letting other people know how you use the app.

Frequency of the updates, this is key for battery conscious people and there’s no way to adjust how frequently the app updates. Other apps allow you to set intervals from 5 mins  through to 6 hours for example. But there’s no option on Tweetdeck which needs fixing, for example I left Tweetdeck on all Saturday and my battery died around 6pm, when it would normally make it through a day no problem.

Audible notifications is missing too, I like to get a ping or a bird tweeting to let me know I’ve had a reply or a DM, but this is missing so you have to check. I don’t want to check so this needs fixing and by the current rate of progress, it should be sorted by the weekend.

Picture sharing, it’s just twitgoo at the moment, I like Twitpic but as far as I can see there’s no way to change it. Support for twitlonger would be nice too, Twidroyd has got that one sorted very well along with the also missing Link shortener of choice options, bit.ly etc.

Something that’s missing on Touiteur, but I’m glad to say is here on Tweedeck is location, you can either add a generic location or log into a specific place via Foursquare. I’m not sure if you set your locations once it stays or you have to keep adding locations to tweet’s that would be too tedious.

Number of tweets, I’m not sure how far this goes back, but there’s not ability to select 180 tweets for instance, it scrolls back pretty much through all your tweets, so not sure what impact this is having on storage, but not too worried.

A tiny niggle to see how someone has tweeted you have to open the tweet up and it shows you, web, Tweetdeck, peep etc. I like to see that on the stream, it helps me to see what people are up to, are they mobile or are they in front of a PC.

Overall, I like it, I think it’s going to continue to improve of the next days, weeks and months into a pretty solid integrated social media application for the Android platform. At the moment I keep flicking back and forth between it and Twidroyd as I find something I can’t do without, but I’m sure before long Tweetdeck will claim a place on my homescreen as the twitter app of choice.

if I’ve  got something wrong let me know, if you can think of other items that would improve it let me know.

Photo’s from the Seventies

I’m trying out the Vignette app for my Android phone, it’s a camera replacement that allows you to add frames and all sorts of effects. There’s a free version in the Android store, but taking just one photo, I decided to upgrade to the £2.99 pro version and it’s a pretty cool app.

It moves the processing of photo’s from the PC (or Mac) to the phone itself and makes it easier to add interesting effects to a photo, either before you take it or afterwards.

This is the breakfast table taken with a very leaky Polaroid camera from the Seventies. There’s a Flickr group for the app too, so if you’re interested in more photo’s take a look here.

Google offers drag-and-drop App Inventor for Kids!

Google have launched tools to allow the creation of simple apps for Android devices, they’re not available just yet though, they are still in private beta. There are already several “it’s not going to produce much of value” posts our there, take this one from the Guardian.

Personally, having just spend the past three years learning to code for various platforms (including iOS), it is easy to be skeptical over these short cuts to writing applications

But I think they are missing the point, this is for children or young adults at least. It’s about getting kids interesting in Android, using Android and building apps that they may use, but it’s looking to the future.

I also agree that the next amazing twitter app will not emerge from this tool, but the person who develops that app, may have grown up on this, cut his or her teeth so to speak on it.

The form which allows you to register interest, is littered with references to education, Google’s aim is getting Android in to schools and used by kids as they grow up. Apple already does this it already offers free lessons for several of it’s apps for 8 to 10 year olds over the summer vacation, i.e. it’s starting the early.

To be honest, I’m keen to have a go, I haven’t done any programming since Uni and a bit of small talk on my IBM graduate training program, that’s it. But what I’m most keen to do is let my 6 year old daughter loose on it. She can use MS Paint, MS Word and do some interesting things, so I’m sure it won’t take her too long to pick this up.

The cat video might also spark a bit of interest, for the cat alone, but it’s about what she and kids her age will do with this. It gives them tools to make things not just out of paper and cello tape but allows them to make usable (if basic) software, that’s what this is about sparking an interest in the developers and entrepreneurs of the future.

Touiteur, maybe the best Android Twitter app

If’ your running with an Android device and are a twitter user then check out Touiteur (it’s twitter pronounced with a french accent). I’ve been a user of Twidroyd (formerly Twidroid), Seesmic, HTC Peep, Twicca (and a horrid looking one that lasted just a few minutes, but it’s name alludes me) for a day and this beats all of them in terms of looks and functionality.

The official twitter app, isn’t really a power user app, it’s away into twitter for the first time for people, who move onto the apps mentioned here.

The look and feel of Touiteur is nice, ie, dark with light font. The inclusion of threaded conversations is one of my fav features, when you go to the replies tab, it shows underneath the replies to the previous tweets all as part of that conversation, nice.

The widgets are pretty neat too, tap the corner of the widget to refresh, or leave it and it’ll refresh every 20 seconds.  There’s maybe not as much in the settings as say twidroyd and I miss the hit the bar to jump to the top of seesmic, but otherwise, it’s my new best twitter app.

I’m still looking for some of these to add in Google Buzz for instance, but they are coming on huge leaps and bounds, Gravity for S60 is still probably leader of the pack, but Touiteur is as good as it get’s on Android.

Sad but true, Symbian-Guru.com is Over

This is a sad story, but one that’s happening frequently, guys and girls who once cheered for Nokia are making the leap away. Symbian-Guru, like me, has moved to Android, others have moved to iPhone, atmaspheric endeavors for example;

As of today, I will no longer be updating Symbian-Guru.com, and will be purchasing an Android-powered smartphone – my new Nexus One should arrive tomorrow. I’ve been a Nokia fanboy since 1999.

I’ve tried to use all of Nokia’s various products and services to the best of my ability, and I just can’t do it anymore.

I can’t continue to support a manufacturer who puts out such craptastic ‘flagships’ as the N97, and who expects me to use services that even most of Nokia’s own employees don’t use

I’ve noticed a lot of the buzz surrounding Nokia has gone, WOM World is working hard, but they’ve got their work cut out now. Nokia has got to pull it’s self up by the boot laces quickly, it’s fine concentrating on the emerging markets, but they are aspirational too, they aspire to own iPhones and Droid’s and cheap Nokia’s are just a stepping stone. They also want apps, have you used the OVi store recently, don’t it’s just awful. The new handsets, N8 for example look hampered with the same old issues, see the photo above from the Nokia Blog

I hope Nokia listens to what people like Symbian Guru says as it’s cheer leaders are leaving in Droids.

Android WordPress app

Posting this on the WordPress app for Android. turned portrait, the Desire could make mobile blogging very easy. Thumb typing is quick and easy and the spelling is quickly corrected by the software. So if you get a chance check out the WordPress app for Android it’s very slick, comments can be approved posts edited and new ones posted, quality.

First impressions of the HTC Desire

This isn’t going to be a full review, don’t have the time, so just a few observations..

The web is fast, with WiFi access and the 1ghz process web pages render as fast as any device I’ve seen. The web Browser is good, pinch to zoom in or out, hold it on the screen and you get a magnifying glass. The address bar vanishes to save space and pages scroll quickly and smoothly.

Battery is good, I used it a lot for reading feeds, twitter etc, took a photo or two and had a 10 min phone conversation, push email on all the time, as was wi-fi at the end of the day still 50% left, so it’d easily last a heavy use day on a single charge.

Ram, there’s way more ram on the Desire than the Hero, Taskiller shows about 100mb or so, when all apps are stoped, on the Desire, it’s over 200mb.

Optical scroll wheel, it’s going to take a little while to get used to, the old track ball was more accurate in moving the cursor around in text.

The camera is way better than the Hero, it too is 5mp but it’s way clearer and now video is 30fps nearer DVD quality than the jumpy 15fps of the Hero.

Friend Stream replaces the updates within the people app, which is OK, but I liked finding out when I went to call someone that they’d updated something before I called them, rather than via a separate app. Having used Peep yet, as still using Twidroid pro, so don’t know if it’s improved or not.

Live Wallpapers are a bit of a gimmick, they don’t add much, but eat battery I’m sure, maybe we’ll see more useful wallpapers sometime soon.

There’s a find people app, which is a little rvedundant, a news app which is nice but not as good as some of the 3rd party apps. Gallery or was it Albums,  is now call photo’s, so it’s moved from near top of the apps list to somewhere else. Gtalk is not just talk, only a minor change, but you think is it the old Gtalk or a new IM app.

The settings app first page has changes and it took me a few mins to find a few things, notably you can’t change the lock screen which is a shame.

The other differences to the Hero is the slight change in the layout of the physical keys at the bottom and pressing down and holding power key at the top of the phone is now needed to select vibration setting for example. Either holding down the Home key or pinches brings up the card view of all screens, which allows you to jump to anyone quickly.

The other thing I found you couldn’t do was disable HTC Sence and take a look at the underlying Google OS. On the Hero, you go into Applications, remove default and force closure, a press of the home key then brought you the option, Sense or Andriod,, which is a shame.

So far very pleased with it, I have an unbranded version, so fingers crossed I’ll get any future updates asap without waiting for the carrier approved update.

And like the last Android device I had, I haven’t had to connect it to a computer at all.