Today I’m going to introduce you to Carbon, without a doubt one of the best if not the best Twitter client around for Android. Before release, it was one of the most hyped apps for Android, as it had already shown its value as a small, yet popular, client for the defunct WebOS. However, when WebOS was discontinued, development was ported over to some of the most popular mobile OS’s around, including Windows Phone and our home favorite, Android. It has remained in beta for a very long time, before finally having a proper release a while ago, and has been actively developed and worked on ever since. What’s so special about this client in particular? Let’s take a look and find out!
First of all, Carbon follows a somewhat strict design guideline that really shows that much care was put into the app from its conception until now. Quoting the developer, “Carbon is a Twitter client, but unlike other Twitter clients. All of your Twitter content on one screen. A screen that doesn’t get you drilling down to many other screens to reach to what you want. Timelines, Lists, Favorites, Searches, Trends, Profiles, all there”. That’s the main goal of the app, and it strives to achieve it, but it makes no compromises on the way. In fact, Carbon is probably the most elegant and visually pleasing app I have ever seen on Android, as you’ll soon find out.
As soon as you download the app, which you can find here, absolutely free, and log in, you’ll see what all the fuss is about. I mean, just look at that screen. It’s beautiful! It follows the traditional Android Holo design elements, but adds a few twists and customizations of its own in exchange for a more pleasant experience, as it should be:
The main screen shows you your Twitter feed, along with the time the tweets were made and by whom. You can easily scroll through the feed, and can even use the GMail style “swipe down to refresh” style gesture to check for new tweets:
In case there are new tweets, the app will flash the number of new tweets on the screen while maintaining the previous position, so you don’t miss anything. Tapping a tweet offers you the standard sleuth of options: retweeting, quoting, favoriting and sharing. Pressing the name of the person who made the tweet also takes you directly to their profile:
You can change the main screens of the app by swiping left and right from the main feed. If you swipe left once, you’ll be taken to your mentions screen, and if you swipe once more you’ll be taken to your direct messages screen. It’s all very intuitive and easy to figure out:
In the main feed, you’ll also see that the app will automatically render inline content it can display, like images and YouTube videos. This makes for an amazing experience compared to even the official Twitter app or website, as content is automatically displayed if it can be playedand can be accessed with a simple tap:
You can easily access the most common Twitter features from the bottom bar, allowing you to make a tweet right away by pressing the plus sign and access your profile by tapping your avatar. The other button opens the side menu, which lets you see more in depth options like trending topics, your favorites, your lists, searching and filtering tweets and accessing the settings:
The Settings are pretty bare, but they do its job. You don’t need to mess around with this app too much, as it honestly already feels incredible out of the box. There are options to open links in the Browser, instead of inline, an option to disable inline content, a size option and other useful features, like changing the quote style or disabling notifications:
As you fiddle around with the app, you’ll notice how smooth everything seems to be. Scrolling the main feed is incredibly smooth, as is switching screens. The app uses fancy effects and transitions every chance it gets, but it seems like that actually makes it run smoother. This is one of the few Android apps that can combine looking good and slick with actually being fast, responsive and smooth, and the developers are worthy of praise for being able to achieve it. It’s easy to see that much thought and care was put into this app, and it has easily become my go-to Twitter client these days, even replacing the web version for me.
So, that’s pretty much it when it comes to this app. If you liked what you saw I would recommend you to check it out, even if only for curiosity’s sake. The official Android Twitter client is not that bad these days, but I think anyone that spends more than five minutes using it can tell there is plenty of room for improvement. This app achieves what the official one doesn’t by being incredibly polished, intuitive and easy to use out of the box, while also being beautiful and full-featured. It’s not an easy balance to achieve, so if you’re looking for a smart Twitter client that will stay out of your way, this is a really good choice, and for free, you can’t go wrong. What is your favorite Twitter client for Android? Let me know in the comment section below so I can check it out as well!