By: Hillel Fuld (@hilzfuld)
Over the years, I have watched Android grow up from an awkward and self-conscious teenager to a confident and talented professional adult who knows how to carry himself with grace. I have been using Android devices for years and until very recently, there really was nothing to talk about in terms of comparisons to iOS, as far as UX is concerned. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich changes that.
But this is not a review of Ice Cream Sandwich, chances are that will follow in the coming days. You see, I just upgraded my old Samsung Galaxy Tab to Android 4.0 yesterday (no, not an official update. That is not going to happen).
The only other time I experienced ICS was on a Galaxy Nexus, but I did not get enough time with it to reach conclusions. Since yesterday, I cannot put down my Tab, which by the way, is a tablet I use maybe once a month due to its slowness. Again, that all changed with this new update.
So I got to know the new OS and we had an immediate connection, then we had our first fight when I opened Google Play (previously known as the Android Market). One of the first types of apps I search for when reviewing a mobile device is Twitter apps. On iOS, there are so many fantastic Twitter apps with two of my favorites being Tweetbot and Tweetlogix, I expected to find something similar for Android.
Now, I do use the Samsung Note often so I am familiar with the Twitter options including solid apps like Plume, Twicca, Tweetdeck, and Tweetcaster, but none of them even come close to the beauty and experience of Tweetbot. I hoped Ice Cream Sandwich would have new options on this front, and I was not disappointed.
Well, THAT was a long introduction… So what is this amazing new app I speak of? Boid for Android! Now before I dive in, let me just tell you off the bat that Boid is in Alpha now so the developer is well aware of bugs and crashes. It is also only available for Ice Cream Sandwich users, which thanks to Android fragmentation is less than 5% of Android users, but that is a topic for another time.
There are definitely occasional crashes as well as features I would like to see implemented. Having said that, even with the crashes, the missing features, and the occasional bug, Boid is by far the best Twitter app I have ever used on Android and yes, it is very much comparable to the best of the iOS Twitter apps.
Now, the app is available on Google Play but the company sent the tweet below enabling users to download a pre-released version with Twitter list support. That is the one I am using and that is the one I would recommend you download.
— Boid for Android (@boidapp) March 20, 2012
So what is so great about Boid as compared to other Android apps? Well, everything! The design is stunning, the way the UI is customizable to you is brilliant and while it has a long list of advanced features, the interface is far from cluttered. Best of all? It is fast, very fast!
Obviously, there is much to be said about any Twitter app and I am not going to go over every single feature and unique aspect of Boid. The thing that put me over the edge and made me delete all other Twitter apps was the fact that I could decide exactly what columns I wanted in the main UI.
For example, on Twitter, if you follow a lot of people, chances are you use Twitter lists. I know I do. In fact, I do not even pay attention to my general timeline, I just read tweets from people on my lists. Yet, every single Twitter app I have ever used on any platform did not let me get rid of the timeline. I don’t need it there, and I want my lists to be the main screen I see when I launch the app. Boid allows me to do that.
I can choose which columns appear and which do not as well as the order in which they appear. Again, this is one example, but I think it speaks worlds about the attention to detail in Boid.
There are definitely some things that are needed to make this app as good as Tweetbot such as push notifications, the ability to see when you have a mention, even when you are reading a list or the timeline, and others. The developer put together a list of features he intends on implementing in upcoming versions and it is all pretty much there.
In addition, I sent the developer this list of features I would love to see implemented and he told me he will definitely include many of them.
For a more detailed review of Boid, you can read AndroidCentral’s thoughts. All in all, I am loving Boid and it is one more thing that brings me closer to chucking my iPhone 4S and switching to Android full time.