The New Twitter on Tablets
With Version 3.4, Twitter updated its Android app to incorporate the big changes to profile pages. However, the experience is ruined on the larger screens of tablets, like the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, with down-rezzed cover art and poor positioning of elements like the profile picture.
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Android is a phenomenal platform in many ways. It's powerful, it's easy to make hardware and develop for, and it's everywhere. It's also super-easy to push out new editions of your app, just as Twitter did this morning with Version 3.4.
But it's also suffers from the plague of fragmentation. Since it's so easy to build Android devices, their specs and capabilities vary widely. And so does the experience. This weakness is plainly evident in the new Twitter app. While it displays decently on an Android phone, when you launch it on something with a bigger screen (say, a tablet), things start to get ugly.
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Looking at my new profile page on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, my cover photo -- while looked fine on my iPhone and the web -- became a down-rezzed mess on the Tab's large display. The page was clearly not designed with big screens in mind, with my profile pic becoming a miniscule postage stamp at the top. The profile text is needlessly put on another screen instead of below the pic like it is on the web.
The bigger the screen, the worse it gets, mainly because of the way Twitter down-rezzes your cover photo to a mere 626 x 313 pixels. I don't understand why -- perhaps their image hosting isn't quite as built up as Facebook's, but it really ruins the experience on large-screen Android devices.
The photo stream, which is now much more prominent on profile pages, isn't much better. The pics are again pretty low-res, which really isn't even that great on a phone anymore considering the move to HD screens. I also experienced a lag in the photos displaying on the Tab 2, which was slightly less on a Droid Razr M. You also can't pinch to zoom on the pics.
Other than the new profile pages and photo stream, Twitter for Android 3.4 doesn't change the app much. The stream still looks good on a phone, becoming a less satisfying stretched-out experience on larger tablet displays. The other minor tweaks -- such as moving the Settings tab to a gear icon under the cover photo -- are barely worth mentioning.
There is a way out of the tablet Twitter nightmare, and it's the web version. Simply pointing your Android browser to Twitter.com brings you to the mobile site, which will display your profile in a much more sensible way. You're probably going to take a significant speed hit, though, so make the switch with that in mind.
In all, the new Twitter for Android brings the service's newest tricks to the experience, but only phones need apply. For tablets, stick to the web version. Or just tweet manually.
This story originally published on Mashable here.
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