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Twitter apps that complement Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich design elements

by Marty Gabel

When Google unleashed Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich last year, many people were excited about its cleaner look and feel compared to previous versions. Now that the operating system is finally achieving a greater level of penetration, it’s worth remembering that Google also revealed new UI design guidelines. These are slowly being integrated by many app developers, but a few notable developers of Android Twitter clients have taken these new designs and run with them, creating great-looking Holo-inspired apps that really shine. Let’s look at a few here.

Tweet Lanes (Free)

Tweet Lanes was designed and written by Chris Lacy of Digital Ashes. It’s a really great looking app, offering a pure Twitter experience with a look and feel that complements Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich design perfectly. It fully embraces Android sweep controls and you can even use the volume buttons to scroll up and down your timeline. It supports multiple accounts and you can automatically preview images on individual tweets.

Tweet Lanes also has some interesting capabilities like being able to select multiple tweets at once if you want to reply to more than one user. The “new tweet” function is novel, too. Instead of a button, there’s an ever-present Context Tweet Box wherever you are in the app. Chris Lacy is active on Twitter and promises a lot more features in the future. Though the app is still a work in progress (and lacking important stuff like notifications), it feels very slick already.

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Boid for Twitter (Beta) (Free)

Boid is another worthy Twitter app that fully embraces Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich UI design. Right now, the app is fairly bare bones in terms of features, but Boid has a roadmap on its website outlining its future enhancements. Amazingly enough, the developers are all teenagers and they’ve already done a remarkable job of creating a simple but beautiful app.

Appolicious Advisor, Phil Owen, reviewed Boid a few weeks ago and found it to be a “mixed bag,” though he was impressed by how easy it is to customize, from changing color themes to being able to filter certain words out of your timeline. There’s clearly more work to be done to bring Boid up to snuff (like remembering your timeline position or adding notifications), but it’s a brilliant start with plenty of potential.

Carbon for Android: coming soon

We don’t know too much yet about Carbon for Android, but it’s certainly tantalizing. From the preview video we’ve embedded below, it’s clear that this could be a very exciting app. You can follow the developerTwitter feed to discover more.

Originally designed for Nokia Lumia Windows 7 phones (and much-loved on that platform), Carbon for Android was expected on July 22, but failed to emerge. Hopefully it will arrive very soon. Clearly it’s sleek, smooth and boasts a gorgeous design. What’s more, according to a post from the developers over on Google+, it will be completely free, with zero ads and deliver premium Twitter features for everyone. We’re looking forward to it!

Other options, and a word of caution

Plume for Twitter saw a design refresh to make it look and feel better on Ice Cream Sandwich, but it still retains its unique interface. The official Twitter app remains popular because it is familiar and its notifications are always reliable. Though its interface is not Android-specific, its design is uniform across iOS and the mobile browser site at least. Robot Bird Free (also available as a pro version for $2.99) is another ICS-only Twitter option which is fairly lightweight and offers simple, basic functionality which some users will appreciate. However, it isn’t necessarily a shining example of Android design guidelines and the Holo interface.

New Twitter apps emerge everyday, but according to the official company blog, the developers of Twitter are likely to clamp down on apps “that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience.” However, the company’s API is still readily available and capable of doing some pretty exciting stuff. How this will affect future Twitter clients on Android is not yet known.