The Twitter option Mastodon now has an official Android app

Mastodon has been one of the best alternatives to corporate social networking for the last few years with its decentralized design and open protocols. The platform released its own app for iOS last year, and now an Android app is available in the Google Play Store.

Mastodon is a social network with an estimated user base of 4.4 million people and a similar design as Twitter. The back page works a bit like email: anyone who joins a community (server) can follow and talk to anyone on any other community, just as anyone with a Gmail account can send messages to a Yahoo email mail and vice versa. There is no centralized database or platform that collects data, and no algorithmic timelines. The protocol that drives everything, ActivityPub, is open source and has been implemented by other social networks. For example, Mastodon users can follow people on PixelFed, an Instagram alternative that supports ActivityPub.

The new Android app reflects the official iOS app, with the ability to log in to any Mastodon community, send posts, receive notifications, search for other posts and so on. It can sync with Android’s dark mode (or you can force it to light / dark mode), but there does not appear to be any material that you support dynamic colors yet.

Unfortunately, the Mastodon app does not support viewing the local timeline, which is a list of all public posts sent from the current community. There is also no way to see the federated timeline, which is a list of all posts from all known communities, but I have never found that feature useful. The good news is that there are still more third-party Mastodon clients with these features (and different designs), like Tusky on Android or Toot! on iOS.

The app is available for free from the Google Play Store, and it works on any device running Android 6.0 or later. Eugen Rochko, founder and lead developer of Mastodon, says the app should soon be available on F-Droid as well. If you need more people to follow, I’m on @[email protected].