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Finally, a Meerkat app for Android you'll actually want to use

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The temptation to write off Meerkat -- the live-streaming app that sort of blew up at SXSW -- is tough to resist. After all, Twitter wasted no time releasing a competitor (with a cleaner interface, no less) that slowly seems to be eating Meerkat's lunch. For now though, Meerkat's got one leg up on its bitter new rival: The team released an Android version of the app that actually works the way it's supposed to. You see, Meerkat technically beat Periscope to Android by launching a closed beta app in mid-March, but you could only watch live streams, not start your own. In other words, it was almost completely pointless. Not so anymore!

The app still carries that pesky "beta" badge, but the sailing has been surprisingly smooth so far, even (or should I say especially) over T-Mobile's LTE connection in midtown Manhattan. Thing is, it's the very same streaming experience you'll get from the iOS version of the app, and that means plenty of visual cruft to clutter up the stuff you actually meant to tune in to. With any luck we'll see the Meerkat team get more comfortable with the ins and outs of Android -- a Material Design-y look could work very nicely here -- but their priority's got to be to dial down the amount of junk vying for your attention on-screen. A blogger can dream, right? In any case, Meerkat should try to enjoy this lead while it lasts. Twitter's already said that Periscope is Android-bound too, at which point this whole crazy race should just heat up all over again.

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