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Friendcaster for Android gives Facebook a makeover

by Michael Ian

As much as Facebook insists that the future is heavily invested on smartphones, it’s surprising to find its mobile app quite lackluster. Sure, numerous updates have fixed major issues, but I often find myself reverting to their mobile site due to faulty updates and unreliable notifications. Many third-party apps that litter the market fare no better, most are just a portal to the mobile version. What is a socialite to do? Enter Friendcaster.

Prior to its recent update (5.0+) Friendcaster was another ho-hum third-party app. Sure, it was a step above Mark Zuckerberg’s own (especially on tablets) but wasn’t enough to warrant a purchase. However with the recent batch of updates, developers OneLouder Apps upped the ante. Sporting a visual flair that would make the social giant blush, Friendcaster perfectly embraces the beauty of Android’s Ice Cream 4.0 Holo theme.

Upon startup you’ll be prompted to give permission for the app to access your Facebook information. Don’t be alarmed however, this is how Friendcaster channels feeds through the app. Once you log-in you’ll notice that the app uses your cover as a banner on top. It looks quite professional (depending on the photo, of course) versus Facebook’s own standard blue bar. Instead of opening straight up to your friend stream, you’ll see an overview of various Facebook features (which you have the option to change). Hate how the color clashes with your theme? Friendcaster offers a variety of color other than the Holo Blue.

Unfortunately, its performance isn’t always as good as its looks. Friendcaster functions marginally, if not the same, as the Facebook app. At times, photos load quickly, but sometimes they fail to show at all. Worse of all, friends’ posts go missing from the news feeds or their avatar fails to show. It becomes frustrating so I ended up using the Facebook app instead, which then leads me to the mobile site.

Friendcaster still needs a bit of a polish. To its credit, OneLouder Apps churns out updates regularly to fix bugs and consistently maintains the app. While it’s still work in progress, once perfected, Friendcaster could be very well be the definitive Facebook app we’ve been waiting for.

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