Android Expert Profiles

How I Use Android: Fenix developer and Twitter whisperer Matteo Villa

He created one of Android's best Twitter apps and defied all odds to keep it alive. Here, how the man behind Fenix uses Android himself.

How I Use Android - Matteo Villa

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You can think of him as The Developer Who Lived.

Matteo Villa built a Twitter client beloved by Android enthusiasts -- the polished and powerful Fenix for Twitter.

Then, as happens far too frequently these days, Villa ran into the dreaded Twitter token limit -- the controversial cap Twitter now puts on third-party apps to limit the number of users they can support. After two years in the Google Play Store, his app couldn't accept any more new users, and so he closed up shop and took the app down.

But wait! Just two days after being targeted by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named -- err, sorry, the Twitter enforcement team -- something unusual happened: Fenix, true to its moniker, rose from the ashes.

Villa's app magically reappeared in the Play Store, with only a vague tweet announcing its return. When pressed for further details about his app's mysterious breaking of Twitter token barrier, Villa remained cryptic -- saying only:

"Having now spoken with the Twitter team, I'm pretty confident any new potential issue can be resolved."

The key to Villa's sorcery may remain forever locked in his chamber of secrets, but Fenix is back and thriving -- and that's ultimately what counts. Villa is also now working on an RSS reader app called Quote (for both Feedly and Inoreader) that shows plenty of promise.

So how does this odds-defying developer make the most of Android in his own day-to-day life? Time to find out.

In his own words, this is how Matteo Villa uses Android.

The basics

Your current primary phone: Samsung Galaxy S4 -- no kidding! I'm honestly not very much interested in the latest and greatest hardware.

And I'm gonna say something else terrible here, but I like phones made of plastic. My S4 is a "black edition" (I think that's what it's called), and it uses a faux-leather back cover (similar to the old Note models) -- not the glossy and gross plastic covers Samsung used to use.

I picked it up a couple of years ago for app testing (because Samsung), and I've been using it as my main phone for about a year. It feels decent in the hand, it's very light, and it's just the right size for me.

I also have a ginormous Nexus 6 laying around for testing apps on the latest versions of Android.

What case is on your phone (if any): I've never used cases, and it shows. My S4 has too many scratches, but I mistreated it for a year and it's holding up pretty great. I'm not sure I could say the same for a phone completely covered in glass.

Your current tablet (if any): I have a first-generation Nvidia Shield Tablet that I pretty much only use for watching YouTube videos, listening to podcasts, and Spotify. It's a decent tablet for my limited needs.

I also have an ancient Nexus 10 (still functioning surprisingly well) that I sometimes use to read things when I want a larger screen.

There's an even more ancient iPad 2 sitting in a drawer, but with the latest iOS update, it's has become pretty much unusable.

Your current smartwatch (if any): I don't own a smartwatch. I'm waiting on a decent model with integrated GPS so I can use it to track my runs and hikes without carrying my giant smartphone around.

I had my eyes on the new Moto 360 Sport edition, but unfortunately, the reviews seem pretty bad.

The home screen

A quick walk-through of your phone's home screen setup: The few apps that I use the most are (surprisingly!) on my main screen. I'm currently learning to play guitar, so an app like GuitarTuna is pretty handy to have installed.

Pocket, Quote, and the Kindle app help me keep up with the too many websites, articles, and books I want to read. These are definitely the apps I use the most.

And then there are the other usual suspects: Pocket Casts, Trello, Google Keep, Gmail, Chrome, Google Photos (one of the best pieces of software out there), WhatsApp (which is what everyone uses here in Italy), and LastPass.

Matteo Villa Home Screen (1)

On the only other home screen, I keep a couple of Fenix widgets to quickly jump through the app.

Matteo Villa Home Screen (2)

What launcher you're using: I've been using Action Launcher for a while now, mainly because of the few gestures I can use to navigate around. The customizable toolbar at the top is also a nice touch.

What wallpaper you're using: It's a dark world map. Not really sure where I got it.

Anything else of note (interesting customizations, special icons, etc): It's pure TouchWiz!

The experience and the apps

What's one of your favorite Android-related tips or tricks?

I really like the recent "floating apps" trend. I'm currently using Flynx Web browser, and it radically changed how I interact with my phone.

Beyond the obvious stock Google programs, a few apps you can't live without right now (and a quick word about why):

I think Pocket is the app I use the most on all of my devices. I tend to jump through different apps and services every once in while, but I've been constantly using Pocket for the past years (even before the rebranding), and I've never felt the need to change it.

Check out more Android expert profiles below or in the official Google+ collection -- and stay tuned for even more entries in the weeks to come!

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