The Twitter client end times are nigh. Well, to be fair, they've been nigh for a while now - so I guess now the end times are here.
In a blog post today, Twitter announced that it would formally discontinue support for TweetDeck's trio of non-web apps, TweetDeck for iPhone, Android and AIR. The clients will be pulled from their app stores in early May, so you can expect considerable wonkiness thereafter.
Twitter, The Control Freak
The death of the TweetDeck trifecta marks a formal end to the heyday of third-party Twitter clients. Last year, as Twitter began to tighten its guidelines, the company effectively wrestled developers into a choke-hold.
Along the way, many great clients and apps folded, deeming it too risky to pour themselves into projects that could be felled by Twitter at a moment's notice. The three clients that Twitter will no longer support are all powered by its old API v1, which the company already announced plans to retire.
Power Users Left In The Cold
What are we left with? Well, acccording to its blog, Twitter will rally around the "modern, web-based version of TweetDeck - namely TweetDeck for web and TweetDeck the Chrome app. TweetDeck's native Mac and PC clients will also live on, though Twitter will focus its efforts on the other versions. None of these option are atrocious in their own right, but it's slim pickings for power users these days.
Many self-proclaimed power users remain loyal to the AIR version of TweetDeck, in spite of its quirks. The AIR-powered client retains the flavor of the original app, before Twitter began to splice TweetDeck's DNA into a less feature-rich client meant for more casual users.
Twitter Is A Platform, Not An App
Twitter's plan to evolve beyond a platform and into a suite of apps has been building momentum for years. Twitter acquired TweetDeck back in 2011 and casual Twitter client Tweetie before that, in 2010.
Still, the vestigial remains of half-abandoned clients are just as much of a mess than ever - and the fact that Twitter is keeping the TweetDeck branding isn't helping. At its essence, Twitter is still more of a platform than it is an app. But as its development strangehold tightens, the ample customization of a thriving ecosystem will soon be the stuff of archived tweets.
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