The Many Faces of: Tumblr
[In our series The Many Faces of, we compare a single app across multiple platforms to tell you which one has the better interface, features, and functionality. Only one app will emerge victorious!]
If you have a Tumblr account and an Android phone, April has probably been a pretty great month for you. Instagram—the favored photosharing app among Tumblr bloggers—finally arrived in Google Play this month (the app store formally known as the Android Market). But even better, Tumblr for Android got a major update that added a fresh, new user interface and some previously missing features. So how does Android for Tumblr stack up against its iOS counterpart? I used both the Android and iOS Tumblr apps simultaneously for a week to manage my multiple blogs. By the end of the week, I had a clear winner in mind.
For those uninitiated with the social media phenomenon known as “micro-blogging,” Tumblr is a service that lets you easily and quickly post content like images, links, videos, quotes and text. The platform’s simple layout for both the Web and mobile apps makes it easy for anyone to start a blog.
First off, I must applaud Tumblr for creating an app that is actually built for the Android platform. Some app developers who develop first on iOS get lazy and simply port their iPhone app over to Android rather than building a new app optimized for Android software and devices. Android users are left with a watered down iOS app that functions awkwardly and looks out of place on their phone. Instagram is a culprit of this developer laziness as are a number of other Android apps. Tumblr, on the other hand, built the app's interface and features around Android’s hardware and software.
The recent Tumblr for Android update gives the app a more refined look with better icons and bolder colors. As you can see from the screenshots, Tumblr for Android looks completely different from the iOS app—and that’s a good thing. The navigation buttons in the dashboard view are larger (where you see posts from all of the Tumblr blogs you follow) and placed along the top rather than the bottom as on the iOS Tumblr. Overall, Tumblr for Android feels much more fresh and modern than Tumblr for iOS.
Tumblr for Android also has a hot new feature: the Tumblr Radar. This nifty little boredom-killer shows you the hottest Tumblr posts of the day. You can get to the Tumblr Radar by clicking the icon next to the home button. You’re then taken to a collage of photos from posts featured on the Tumblr Radar. You can click on any of the photos to see where they originated and easily add that blog to your dashboard by hitting a “follow” button at the top of the display. It is a gorgeous way to kill time and find some new blogs to check out.
Sadly, Tumblr for Android is still missing a key feature found on the iOS version: audio posting. On iOS, you can record your voice (or whatever other weird noises you come across) with your iPhone and then post it to your Tumblr blog. For some reason, this feature has been omitted in the Android version. Honestly, I’ve never used this feature on iOS, but it is still unfair that Android owners are left out.
Winner: Tumblr for Android
When it comes to social media apps, Android still feels like it's trailing iOS. Tumblr 3.0 for Android bucks that trend and trumps the current version on iOS. Let’s just say that iPhone Tumblr users might be a bit Android-green with envy when they see this new version. Now Android users just need a real, official Pinterest app (not a fake spammy app) and the trifecta of hot new social media apps (with Instagram) will be complete.