The world’s favorite microblogging (and often ranting) platform has had its apps available for every significant OS out there and while the iOS app has been quite polished for quite a while, the UI of its Android counterpart had been long due for an overhaul. The wait is over, as Twitter has finally released the update, bringing the critically acclaimed Holo UI introduced in Android 4.0 ICS to the app. In addition to the Holo UI overhaul, Twitter for Android also gets a few feature additions, most notably automatic suggestions when you start typing a @username or #hashtag, integration with other services to install or launch their apps from tweets containing links to content on them, and a new font.
Many people had been wondering what’s taking Twitter this long to update its Android app to meet the UI guidelines set by Android starting with version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and continued in Jelly Bean. Better late than never though, as the Holo UI update seems to be definitely worth the wait. The navigation buttons for Home, Connect, Discover and Me in the top bar have been replaced with Holo tabs, and the whole top UI has been flattened to remove any hint of a pseudo-3D look. You still get the exact same functionality from all the tabs, with the added benefit that you can now swipe sideways to navigate between them.
If you are wondering how to get the options for each tweet that you could previously bring up by sliding sideways on tweets, there’s now the tap-and-hold gesture for that. Another thing you’ll quickly notice is the new font; not only does it look cleaner and more modern, but also provides better readability, especially on devices with large screens.
The @username and @hashtag suggestions as you type have got to be perhaps the most important feature of this update, especially on phones, as they can save you significant amount of typing on that small keyboard when mentioning others in your tweets or adding any of the popular hashtags to them.
Another new feature is the integration with certain other web services that will allow you to launch an app directly from a tweet that contain a link to content on that service, or allow you to directly install that app if you don’t have it already. An example of this would be the ability to tap a link of a Flickr photo in a tweet to directly open that photo in the Flickr app installed on your phone, or get a prompt to install it from Play Store if it isn’t installed. For some reason though, we couldn’t figure out how to get it to work in our testing. Also, we aren’t currently sure how many services are on board for this at the moment, but we can expect integration with many in the future.
Unfortunately, the new update still doesn’t bring a tablet-optimized interface for Android tablets, which is inexplicable for an app like Twitter. However, the Holo UI actually compensates for that to an extent, thanks to the flat tabs that don’t look blown out of proportion on tablets, unlike the buttons in the previous versions of the app.
You can update Twitter to the latest version by going to your apps section in Play Store on your device, or install it using the following link.