Unusually for an operating system designed for tablet, smartphone and laptop, Microsoft has deliberately avoided baking in social media apps to Windows 8. The company's rationale is that the popularity of social sites and services waxes and wanes in a timespan shorter than the life of a Windows OS. (Putting a Friends Reunited app into Windows XP would look a bit silly now, for instance.)
In compensation developers of Windows 8 apps are encouraged to 'share' with any other app, a process made simple in the developer environment. So if you have any sort of Twitter and Facebook app on your Windows 8 PC or tablet, you will be able to share via them from any other app, using the Share icon placed just above the Start icon to the righthand side of every screen. And Tweetro is a Twitter app well worth using. (See also: Windows 8: the complete guide.)
As it is a As a 'Metro' style app, designed to sit on Windows 8's Start screen, it's no surprise that Tweetro looks great on our Samsung Series 7 Slate. A deep black background frames the familiar square tiles. There's lots of information, but also lots of space. Images are a decent size, and look good on a sizeable screen. See also: Tips for building Windows 8 apps.
Tweetro for Windows 8: home screen
The home screen shows your picture or avatar next to a large and welcoming 'Tweet' box, as well as your most recent Tweet, just below. Above is your user name and how many followers you have, to the right is your full name, as well as love icons for mentions, messages, favourites and lists. Further over to the right, Tweetro displays your timeline, with four most recent Tweets from the people you are following. To the bottom left is a ling to 'show full profile'. Beneath your Timeline is a 'show more' link. It's all pretty to look at, intuitive to use, and there's a lot of data in a small space. You can add or remove as many accounts as you'd like from within the homescreen by either swiping up from the bottom to bring up a small settings menu, or click the + sign beneath your profile picture. Pinch the homescreen to see a bird's eye view of all your data.
Swiping across to the right brings up your photos. Clicking into your full profile offers up everything you'd expect: your profile details, followers and those you follow, plus your Tweets, mentions, favorites and lists. You can also search, add searches, and add lists. All of which makes Tweetro a nice environment in which to interact with Twitter, although it falls close to the territory of those apps that are 'like the web page but just a little bit better'. Or, to put it another way: why would you use an app when you could just bookmark the Twitter web page on your browser.
Well, for one thing Tweetro is customisable. You can, in the developer's words, 'Manipulate the display to suit your mood', with themes such as 'Light read' and 'Info highway'. More importantly, you can browse what is behind the text from within the app, checking out links and photos without having to run multiple apps.
And, in common with all Windows 8 'Metro' style apps, Tweetro can be resized to fit on to a portion of your screen as you are working on another app. So you could view your Twitter timeline in a panel to the right of your screen, while browsing the web, say. This is not so important on a large desktop PC when you have space for multiple browser windows, but on a 9in tablet it will be a boon.
Tweetro for Windows 8: Live tile
Also important: as a 'Metro' style Windows 8 app, Tweetro is a Live tile in your Start screen. So you can see Tweets and mentions straight from the home screen without even opening an app or a browser. Take a step further back and you can even see how many new Tweets you have from the lock screen when first you wake up your Windows 8 device.
So what's not to like? Well, we'd like to receive Twitter alerts from Tweetro whatever app we are in, but can't find an option to make this happen (this may speak to Microsoft's insistence of being able to do everything from within every app). Indeed, lack of true customisation is something of a bind: why can't we change the colour scheme at least? Also, try as we might we couldn't work out how to attach a photo to a Tweet. Some mistake, surely? Finally, in our testing of Tweetro it crashed. A lot. Still, Windows 8 is in beta and Tweetro was apparently built to deadline in just three months, so it's possible these minor issues will be addressed in time. Certainly, we wouldn't expect the crashes to be an issue when Windows 8 fully deploys. And generally, we are fans of Tweetro.