Official Twitter App Gets Updated With Holo Theme

Official Twitter App Gets Updated With Holo Theme

Apr 4, 2013

Twitter’s Android app has been, well – not so good, let’s say. However, the app has gotten a mild improvement that makes it feel more native to Android. The app now incorporates the Holo theme, meaning that it looks great on Android 4.x devices, with the matte interface elements that define the Holo theme. As well, it’s now possible to swipe between different columns. Interestingly, the Mentions column is no longer separated into “Interactions” and “Mentions” but displays just the one column, which should help simplify things for users. It’s also possible to install apps from tweets. The iOS app got a very similar update just recently as well.

Unfortunately, these minor theme tweaks are all that came to the app; tablet support is still missing and most everything else is the same. Compared in particular to third-party apps, there’s definitely something lacking from this Twitter update. It doesn’t even have the smoothness that the iOS app has (whether you like its interface or not). There’s still a lot of work to be done on this app, but at least it’s an improvement. The update is available now on Google Play.

Boid: A Beautiful New Holo-Themed Twitter App

Boid: A Beautiful New Holo-Themed Twitter App

Sep 4, 2012

Twitter app Boid is currently in beta, and it's trying to provide a Holo version of the Twitter experience, similar to what Tweet Lanes is doing.

Boid has been built for Android to conform to Android 4.x design standards. While there's no pull-to-refresh implemented yet like in Tweet Lanes (and it may not be due to it not being a native action), Boid does have one feature that obsessive tweeters will love compared to that app: notification support. There's no push, just the ability to fetch notifications at certain intervals.

It's something of a risky time to be releasing Twitter clients, as Twitter seeks to limit 3rd party apps – in particular, new apps can only max out at 100,000 user tokens (or double their count when API version 1.1 was announced, whichever is bigger), so no one can really launch a huge Twitter app.

Boid will try to appeal to Android users looking for a quality Twitter app, and is currently free while in beta. Nexus 7 owners will be glad to know that the app now works on the tablet device. While Twitter tries to cut down on 3rd party apps, developers are still making stylish apps.

Timer, Tweet Lanes, and the Importance of Holo

Timer, Tweet Lanes, and the Importance of Holo

Aug 27, 2012

I recently found out about an app called Timer, which is extremely simple: it’s a timer app, restoring some functionality that isn’t present in the stock Jelly Bean clock, and also featuring expanded notifiaction support for start/stop and restarting the timer. It’s a simple app, yet it feels like a great fit with Android 4.x devices.

However, we’re seeing a few more apps taking advantage of the Holo theme and Android 4.x design themes. Tweet Lanes is probably the most popular example, having seen a great number of downloads for 4.x phones and even for the Nexus 7. Flipster integrates some Holo theme and 4.x design elements in it as well.

Android needs apps like these, with consistent design themes. Apps that have a distinct look and feel to them that screams Android, that represent the platform and look good while running smoothly, they will strengthen the platform. When users can expect some apps to have familiar looks and feels, then the platform feels more legitimate.

The problem is that thanks to all the Android variants out there, there’s no consistent look to the platform. Phone manufacturers have generally tried to prevent this for their own benefit by applying their own look to the platform. Google is trying their best to keep the stock look, though. The Galaxy Nexus may be the most widely-spread Nexus phone yet thanks to it being on multiple carriers, and as one of the best values as an unlocked phone. The Nexus 7 is estimated to sell 8 million units this year. There’s plenty of value to Holo.

So, while there’s the challenge of getting developers to accept this style for their apps, especially when iOS and its design principles are still dominant, the rise of Android devices out there leads to the hope that developers for the platform will accept it and adopt it. The apps that are using Holo themes and Android design standards are impressively smooth. They are great examples of how Android apps should be working. More developers that take advantage of this, the more likely that Android can develop that consistent look and feel that it needs.