It looks like this might be the end of the line for one of the most popular third-party Android Twitter apps going, Falcon Pro after they tried to push out a new version with a new set of API keys. Twitter appears to have shut down this version of the app, and the developer has restored the working version to Google Play so that users could re-download it.
Thus, with the app’s user limit reached (again), the app’s future development is theoretically dead. There’s no profit to be had in further development, and no additional users will be coming in.
Such is how the Twitter API policies have had a disastrous effect on Android: the lack of a high-quality third-party app option, at least one with the popularity of an app like Tweetbot on iOS such that it seemingly had a lot of additional user tokens, is felt now more so than ever. Twitter makes incremental improvements to their official app, but it’s still a generally-lacking experience. As such, Android users are left to suffer: any sufficiently-good option won’t last, and developers have no incentive to build good apps because it’s possible to succeed too well with them – that, or they’ll have to price them at relatively-high prices, like with Tweetbot for Mac.
Enjoy Twitter app Falcon Pro? Well, too bad: [the app has officially run out of user tokens]http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/02/23/falcon-pro-hits-100k-token-limit-another-twitter-client-bites-the-dust/(). This means that users trying to sign in to the app will discover that they cannot do so, thanks to Twitter’s new rules about third-party API clients. Basically, new apps can max out at 100,000 user tokens (older apps get two times what they had before when Twitter announced the API changes) and that’s it.
Now, here’s the problem: this does not mean that the creators of Falcon Pro have sold 100,000 copies of their app. Additional user tokens have been taken up by pirated users. Users who download the app, sign in, and then refund it within the 15-minute window are not relinquishing their user tokens unless they disable the app from Twitter’s application settings.
This does not mean that all hope is lost for Falcon Pro users. They may be able to renew all tokens, but with a confirmation system in place to confirm that a user has legitimately bought the app, and not just pirated it. Unfortunately, they can’t circumvent the token limit by re-releasing different versions of the same app with different sets of user tokens as it is against Twitter’s API terms of service. There is also a petition in place to try and convince Twitter to raise the token limit, but there are no reported instances of Twitter actually raising the limit on an app, either through internal requests or external demands. Both are being attempted with Falcon Pro. This is unsurprising because Twitter is actively trying to drive users to official apps and services.
Thus, there’s a very good chance that what’s going to happen in the future is that Twitter clients are going to get a lot more expensive. This is what Tweetbot on Mac did. Its $19.99 price was subject to some criticism, but in the face of a maximum of 100,000 sales, it wound up being a problem. A drop in quality could also occur, as it will get a lot harder for developers to make a living off of a Twitter app. Long-term, it could truly be the death of third-party Twitter apps, which is a shame because there are still quality gaps with the official apps, though this may be Twitter forcing users into their new way of user interaction.
Having tried every Twitter client there is for Android, I can confidently say that Falcon Pro stands out from all others. Falcon started as a widget for Twitter only, but is now available as a fully functional Twitter client that’s even better than the official app.
The interface is not as clean and polished as the official Twitter app, but that’s not to say it doesn’t look good. On the contrary, Falcon Pro‘s double-sliding menus and dark theme creates a unique Twitter experience. Swiping the main page to the right shows follower and following details, timeline and other filters including mentions, direct messages and retweets. The app settings page is also accessible from here. Swiping to the left shows Twitter lists, if any, as well as saved searches and trending topics.
Getting new tweets are done by pulling down and releasing the timeline. Individual tweet functions like retweets, delete, mute and share are all available by holding down a tweet from the timeline page. On the settings page, one can set how often the app refreshes the timeline, notification types, and enabling the Tweetmarker.
Two notable features in Falcon Pro that’s often missing from other apps are Tweetmarker and Mute. This is not very common among other Twitter apps, and doesn’t look to be a future functionality of the official Twitter app. I like the mute function for more control of the timeline, choosing which ones I want to focus on. Tweetmarker remembers where you left off when exiting the app, so it’s easy to get back on track when using it again even from another device.
The app boasts of fast load times, and it seems to hold true to that promise. Timelines refresh at fairly acceptable speeds, even with average mobile data connection.
Photos and videos included in tweets can be viewed inline using the app’s built-in web browser and video player. However, if one prefers to view media content with an external browser, this feature can be turned off in the app settings.
There are more things to like about Falcon Pro, and it’s clearly a very competent Twitter client that is not to be ignored. With a unique interface and lots of impressive features, this app makes tweeting extremely flexible.