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    App review: TweetComb for Honeycomb tablets


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    Until now, Honeycomb users looking to get their social networking fix have had to rely on blown up smartphone apps that don't make particularly good use of the additional screen real estate. Then, the other day, an app called TweetComb arrived in the Android Market... and there was much rejoicing. Finally, Android tablets owners have a Twitter app that caters their needs and takes advantage of the OS's unique capabilities. But is the experience improved enough to warrant the $2.99 price of entry? Well, we plunked down the cash and fired up our Xoom to find out for you.

    Chris Stewart
    • Multiple columns with list supportResponsive UIOnly Twitter app designed for Honeycomb
    • Slow to update feedsNo background notificationsPoorly organized menus and options

    The big appeal of TweetComb is that it's multi-column which, if you ask us, is a must have feature for any tablet Twitter app. Upon first launch you're greeted with separate, scrollable lists for your timeline, mentions and direct messages, and you can add your own updates, favorites, up to three saved searches and three lists from the "customize dashboard" menu. In addition to being able to customize your dashboard from the menu in the upper right-hand corner you can also switch between multiple accounts, for those with split Twitter personalities. The app is pleasantly responsive while browsing through updates and quickly opens a pop-over browser window when you tap on a link. Refreshing feeds took a while, but for the most part we were pleased with the performance.

    TweetComb Profile View

    Tabs in the top left-hand corner allow you to quickly switch between the dashboard (where your feeds live), profile view, search and lists. By default, the profile tab displays your information, but a dedicated profile search button allows you to quickly pull up any account. Tapping on usernames will also open up the profile tab, while fingering hash tags launches a search.

    While TweetComb has most of the features you could ask for in a tablet Twitter client it does suffer from some poor organizational choices. For instance adding searches or lists to the dashboard is a fairly convoluted affair that requires opening the respective tab, performing a search or selecting a list from a drop down menu and tapping save. Only then can you open up the "customize dashboard" dialog and add them to the primary view. Your accounts are also completely segregated from each other, with separate dashboards that can't display feeds from the others.

    Those issues are merely minor annoyances though compared with the alerts -- or, more specifically, lack thereof. TweetComb will play a sound when new Tweets roll in, but only when the app is open, and there is no icon that pops up in the notification area to let you know when you have a new mention or message. So, while it may be fine for perusing your various followees it can't quite take over for the official Twitter app full time.

    Tweetcomb is perfectly serviceable for actively keeping tabs on your Tweeple and even with their sometimes confusing implimentation we appreciate the multiple columns. It's not as feature packed and polished as Twitter for the iPad or as flashy as Flipboard, but for Honeycomb users addicted to 140-character missives it's the only game in town. For $2.99 though, we'd expect TweetComb to be our primary way of interacting with the social network, and without background notifications we're a little hesitant to embrace it. Besides, it's only a matter of time before Twitter strikes with their own Android tablet app -- and it's a safe bet it'll be free.

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