How does a company enter a market that is 6 years old? Slices for Twitter (Currently ad-supported in the Play Store) hopes to answer that question as it takes the Android community by storm. With features not found in any other Twitter client, Slices puts a new twist on Twitter in the mobile market. Are the changes and additions enough to make this a daily driver for the average Twitter user? Is the app strong enough to hold up against the plethora of other apps currently on the market? Let’s find out!
So, in a market that seems to get a new Twitter client almost weekly, how can a company make their app stand out in the crowd? If you’re OneLouder, you attempt to completely change the way that people view their timeline. Normally, users get a chronological timeline of tweets, oftentimes losing track of where they’ve started and stopped. This list can get exponentially more difficult to follower if a user has a larger-than-average follower/following list. What Slices does is allow you to take your followers and group them based on common characteristics. Slices will also attempt to auto-populate a few Slices to give you an example of what can exist in the “Slices”. I found that the slices that it did create for me were pretty accurate, but not necessarily slices that I would normally keep and check. In all honesty, I’m still at a loss as to how Slices is any different than the often-forgotten Twitter lists feature. I totally get what they’re trying to do with their Slice mentality. By breaking your timeline into slices, you’re able to follow events live, bookmark favorite accounts and discover new people to follow, but I’m just not 100% sure it’s a feature worth building an app around.
What It Gets Right
One of the best features of Slices is the ability to follow along with Live Events. As per their app description, “Each stream displays a feed of tweets from the “right” people for today’s events, like sports, TV shows, and other happenings.” This is a great feature right now, making following things like the Olympics fairly easy.
Presentation-wise, Slices is a very nice looking app. The menu system is easy to understand and navigate through, and the style and design of the app make this one of the better looking Twitter apps out on the market. OneLounder has an excellent pedigree, especially in the field of Twitter, with their older app TweetCaster being an Editor’s Choice App, and one of the best reviewed on the market. It’s no surprise, then, that Slices follows in their footsteps in regards to design and presentation.
Slices also does some amazing things in the stat-tracking department. Slices gives you the ability to see daily stats about followers, tweets, trends and things happening worldwide. If you’re a power Twitter user, Slices definitely has some features you’ll find interesting and useful.
Where it Falls Short
There’s a disturbing trend happening in the Google Play store as-of-late, and it seems to be particularly affecting Twitter applications. It seems that each new Twitter client that comes out is only being released with partial features. This app, for example, doesn’t allow you to reply-to-all. Seriously? Reply-to-All is one of the most basic features necessary in any mobile app. Twitter is all about sharing conversations with people, and to not be able to do that is a glaring omission. To add insult to injury, there is no auto-population of usernames if you “@” somebody. These two lacking features make having conversations with more than one person incredibly difficult to maintain.
The app is also a bit buggy. I’d love to chalk it up to the fact that I was running CM10 on my Galaxy Nexus, but in an un-related move I installed a different ROM (Eclipse 2.0, if you’re wondering) and the app still had issues. My most-often found bug seemed to be related to the timeline. I could be in the middle of scrolling, and the app would be loading new tweets. When the tweets were loaded, the timeline snapped back to the location I had started my scroll. It got to be really frustrating if my timeline loading more than 20 or so new tweets. I constantly felt like I was backtracking.
The notifications also seemed to just randomly occur. I had mine set to every 10 minutes, but found myself opening the app after 15 or so and finding that I had missed a few replies at the 7-minute mark. Notifications seem to be one of the toughest things an Android developer has to deal with, and Slices just hasn’t nailed it cleanly on this app.
Slices definitely seems like it was developed for a very niche market. It’s unfortunate, then, that the market they’re targeting was not the market of which I’m currently a member. The features outside of the “Slice” feature are really nice, but not something I find myself using constantly. If I need analytical data about tweets, there’s a good chance I’m in front of a computer where I can see that information a lot better. There aren’t a whole lot of events I need to follow live, either. Twitter does enough of that on its own.
Slices is not going to be my daily driver for Tweeting. In fact, at the time of writing this review, I’ve actually uninstalled the app. Don’t get me wrong, Slices is probably a great app. It’s designed incredibly well, for the people who are going to use those features, and it really is easy on the eyes. But it’s busy and, as my brain slips further and further into old age an senility, I need less clutter when it comes to Twitter. If stat tracking, live streaming, and organization are what you’re looking for in a Twitter client, I cannot recommend Slices enough. Let me re-iterate that.
If you like organizing your Twitter world into oblivion, love live streaming/tweeting events and want to track every stat under the sun (Twitter related), then Slices is the app you need.
But for me? Slices is just one of those knives you keep in your drawer, and only pull out to show off every once in a while.