Tumblr hardly needs an introduction. It isn’t WordPress, but that’s exactly the point. Because of it, a lot of youngsters from Gen X and Y are attracted to at least some sort of long-form writing. Long before Twitter, Tumblr was the pioneer in getting microposts and media (particularly images) in front of those who didn’t have the time or inclination to read hundreds of words per post.
The success of Tumblr is due to the sheer ease with which even a technical novice can start publishing online. That – alongside the awesome community that fosters conversations and reblogs content for quicker discovery – is the reason they have grown from one billion to ten billion posts in just a year. Recently, Tumblr completely revamped their Android, and it’s now time for us take the app for a spin and see how cool it is compared to the web app.
Just like the web app, the Tumblr app for Android is available for free. The entire app, including the user interface, has been redesigned, making it easy to discover, post and promote content on the go. If you have a mobile device running Android version 2.1 or upwards, you are in luck!
Sign Up Screen
Right off the bat, the login / sign up screen didn’t impress me. But I reserved my judgment till I got to the main screen(s). The familiar three fields-only sign up form is available right within the app if you don’t already have an account; I logged in with my credentials and then was floored by the gorgeous user interface.
Posts View and Liking Content
The entire navigation is bundled into three tabs, leaving a lot of room for consuming content. If you are following a lot of blogs, you should get used to the (almost) never ending scroll! And the content is presented in entirety – no read more tags. This is a great thing for people who want to read everything on the go, though in practice it’s annoying to have to scroll so much.
Liking and Reblogging
You can acknowledge and promote the posts you liked by using the heart icon, and your likes are added to the post instantaneously. In the same vein, you can reblog the content: tapping the reblog icon brings up the compose screen. From this screen you can add a few thoughts of your own alongside the original content.
Swipe to the right to access the reblog title and type settings. If you swipe to the left of the screen though, you get to see the original post again. But I couldn’t help but wonder why the content is magnified when accessed this way.
At the end of the post, the total number of notes received is displayed. Tapping on the number brings up the details of who did what with the post. Again, this leads to a whole lot more scrolling. All the posts you have liked so far can be accessed from the dedicated Likes screen.
Creating a Post
Notes and Post Types
Time to whip up a quick micropost! The New Post window and the icons are taken straight from the web app. There are six different post types shown on the screen for you to pick and choose from. Curiously, the audio post option (which is available on the web and iOS apps) is missing from the screen.
It goes without saying that all the content type post formats are unique just like in the web app. I tried posting a video and the app presented me with three options - shoot a video, choose an existing one or use an embed code. In the same manner, each content type has its own set of options. Tap on the Advanced Post options button or swipe to the right to bring up the advanced publishing settings.
Video Post Options & Post Settings
From the Advanced Post screen, you can easily select the blog where you want the post to be published (if you have multiple blogs associated to your username), the time when you want it to be published (scheduling options are amazing) and as many tags as you please. The developers state that for quick sharing, you can post anything from your home screen via the Tumblr widget, but I couldn’t get that feature running on my device.
In the reviews left by users in the Android market page of the app, most of them were complaining about the slow load time. However, in my experience, I found the app to be very responsive even on my HTC Wildfire (which isn’t built for speed). As for the much-hyped revamp of the user interface, it is indeed gorgeous.
I have to admit that I haven’t used the previous version of the app, but judging by screenshots, this one looks a lot better. Endless scrolling isn’t unique to the Android version of the app, but since we have a lot of devices with tiny screens (unlike the standard screen size of iPhones), some sort of markers limiting the length of each content would be a huge help. The only thing the app fails to offer is the ability to create new blogs altogether. To do that you will have to go to the web dashboard. At least, for now!