You’d think that finding functional social media apps for major league hitters like Facebook and Twitter would be simple. You might even go so far as to assume that their “official” mobile apps aren’t horrible wastes of bandwidth. But the shocking truth is that for the most part, official mobile apps from the megalithic social media platforms are awful. This is why the Android Market is practically overflowing with third party knockoff apps, some of which actually come close to delivering an acceptable mobile experience for Honeycomb tablet users.
Best Honeycomb Twitter App
It really ought to embarrass Twitter that their own official app has been surpassed by that of a third-party developer. Not only is TweetCaster from OneLouder Apps a better Twitter app, but the contest is not even close. Its design makes perfect use of the Honeycomb tablet’s expanded real estate space, and its customizable settings let you control everything from auto refresh frequency to taskbar notifications of new tweets, mentions, and direct messages. The only difference between TweetCaster and TweetCaster Pro is the absence of banner ads on the latter which, at $4.99, is reasonable enough; especially considering that the banner ads tend to cramp the screen and detract from the Honeycomb tablet’s expansive landscape view. Still, it’s strongly recommended to check out the freebie version to make sure it meets with your approval before sinking a fiver into the pro version.
Worst Honeycomb Twitter App
Plume for Twitter
It’s wonderful to see a third-party developer try to one-up Twitter by delivering their very own product. But it’s awful to see that developer fail miserably, especially in light of how utterly boring the official Twitter tablet app is. But the good folks at LevelUp Studio have done just that with the release of Plume for Twitter, an application that can be best described as a cluttered mess. Ugly to the eye, to be sure.
Best Honeycomb Facebook App
The official Facebook Android app is so bad, it’s laughable, but not the kind of laughter that elicits good feelings. Fortunately for those who are so hooked that they have to bring everyone’s favorite social network with them wherever they go, there’s Friendcaster. It proudly declares itself as “Honeycomb’s first Facebook app,” but it’s not only that. It’s also Facebook’s best Android app, as evidenced by a few features including one that launches your tablet camera while still inside the app so you can take a snapshot and immediately share it. The Nearby tab is also particularly cool, showing you all of the recent check-ins from folks on your friends list while even displaying a zoomable map with pins indicating those friends nearest you. Also made by OneLouder Apps, the pro version costs you $4.99 which gets rid of the annoying ads.
Worst Honeycomb FaceBook App
AndroidSocial for Facebook
It’s not really fair to call AndroidSocial for Facebook the “worst” third-party Facebook app out there, considering how awful the official app is. But since Suderman Solutions touts it as having been specifically designed with tablet users in mind, maybe it’s fair to call it the worst of the tablet-optimized Facebook apps. In fact, it appears the only thing that makes this app optimized for tablets are the disproportionately large font sizes which a user apparently has no ability to make smaller.
The Rest of the Best
You’ve got app developers falling all over themselves to outdo the latest and greatest Twitter and Facebook Android tablet apps, and then you’ve got a wide open field of standalone applications such as…
The good news is, it’s not all failing grades and dire report cards for all official apps, as proven by the official LinkedIn tablet app, which does well to merge the full online website experience with the one-touch functionality of tablets to perform tasks like reviewing updates, checking inbox messages, and sharing updates while on the go.
Meet New People
Badoo’s free app is incredibly popular, with more than half a million downloads. But it’s not just the application’s promise to help singles (and aspiring singles) from hooking up with Mr. and Ms. Right Now that makes this app pop – if that were the case, you could do the same elsewhere. What Meet New People does well is use your location to show you available singles in your neck of the woods. Full screen profile views and galleries of user submitted headshots are also far better suited to high resolution Honeycomb tablet screens, making the hunt a bit more user friendly.
Brief Me for Tablet
Designed for the tablet user for whom instant gratification takes far too long and who’d rather not spend time toggling between applications, Brief Me is a Honeycomb tablet-optimized dashboard that delivers headlines from user chosen topics. Beautifully designed for Honeycomb tablet screens, Brief Me’s integration with Twitter and Facebook allows a user to publish updates to both social networks simultaneously.
For those who find sharing real-time scribbles to be far more entertaining, stimulating, and yes, even scintillating than pressing Facebook’s “Like” and “Poke” options ad nauseum, there’s Dscribble Tablet which lets you turn your Honeycomb into an electronic canvas to share with other users online. If you happen to accidentally create a masterpiece and can’t figure out how to capture a screenshot on your tablet, fret not – you’ve also got the option to text, email, or even post links to your scribbles to Facebook and Twitter.
What About Google Plus?
Google Plus has experienced something of a meteoric ride in that its self-generated buzz fizzled out long before it had a chance to come through on the threat to steal all of Facebook’s users. Of course, that could still change. And monkeys might fly out of your screen. Alas, if you’re one of the few that’s found Google Plus to be an improvement over Facebook, you may love the mobile app for its location-based Nearby feature, as well as for Huddle, a feature that facilitates live chat within a circle of friends. Just don’t go expecting to be blown away by it if you decide to try it out on your tablet, since there’s nothing about the application that’s been optimized for a larger screen environment.