Hands on with Echofon beta for Android

Anyone who has ever used an iOS device or an Apple computer, will likely have come across Echofon at some point along the way. While it may have been caught up, and even passed, in popularity since, it has been around for some time. Funnily enough, around the same sort of time the Echofon team announced that they would be withdrawing any future support for their Mac client, the alpha build of their Android application started doing the rounds. The desktop app is now no longer, with the Mac version having been withdrawn from the Mac App Store leaving the developers, Naan Studio, free to concentrate on mobile. The Android build of Echofon recently entered its beta phase, so we took some time out to take a look and see how it fares. 

Echofon for Android Video Walkthrough 

This is a public beta, so anyone can give it a try -- download links can be found at the bottom of this post. Upon starting up for the first time, the first thing that hits you is the ads. It is ad supported, and while they can be hidden by tapping the cross they're still quite prominent at the top of the timeline. Hopefully, a 'pro' version will be offered for purchase in future, as the ads do spoil the appearance somewhat. 

The appearance itself is first rate. This has been designed with Android 4.x in mind, following the design guidelines really nicely. There are two themes, dark and light, and as is so often the way it's the dark theme we recommend. Granted, there's really only so much you can expect to see in the main view of a Twitter client, but everything is here, accessed by the tabs at the bottom of the screen. Some will prefer this, some not so much.

Scrolling performance is pretty good, especially considering we're not yet looking at a final build. In truth, overall performance has been pretty good since the initial alpha builds. It does get a little janky from time to time when scrolling up and down through your timeline, but overall isn't bad at all.

Looking nice is one thing, but features are what a Twitter user really craves. Echofon has taken full advantage of the new exandable notifications in Jelly Bean, allowing you to fully view a tweet as well as reply or retweet right from the notification bar. The compose Tweet window is as you would expect, with options to take a photo, choose from the gallery, or add your location to your tweets. 

Speaking of location, the message shown above greets you the first time you try to Geotag one of your tweets. No accidental location adding, the power is firmly within the users hands. And we like that. 

Settings wise, there are the usual sort of visual options, how you want names to appear, how you want notifications to appear, choice of photo uploading service. Where Echofon looks to stand out, is by syncing with other Echofon products. So, if you should happen to own one of those fruit based mobile devices, you should be able to sync across the two, something which helped make the original iOS/Desktop combination so popular initially. 

Lastly, lets talk widgets. They're nice. Really nice. Coming in a variety of sizes from the small to the full grid. The smallest widget is nothing more than quick access to your timeline, mentions, messages and to compose a tweet. The larger ones are effectively like mini versions of the app, showing the top entries  on your timeline along with the full control bar as well as the compose tweet icon. 

And that's about it. Twitter clients are plentiful, but we'll never turn our noses up at one which goes about its business as Echofon does. There's a client out there for everyone -- heck, some people even love the official Twitter app -- and for some this could well do the job. As it's still in beta, it isn't available in the Play Store just yet, but if you want to give it a try, follow the handy download link below. 

Download: Echofon beta for Android

Richard Devine