Twitter just bought itself an Android lock screen, acquiring Cover for an undisclosed price.
Cover replaces the standard lock screen on Android phones and provides shortcuts to different apps based on context. You might, for example, see one set of apps when you wake up, and a different set when you're driving to work. Cover also has a couple of neat tricks: You can swipe on an app to peek at it directly from the lock screen, or swipe from the right side of the screen to quickly access favorite apps.
In a Monday blog post, Cover's creators note that Twitter "believes in the incredible potential of Android," so presumably they'll be doing something related to Google's operating system. It's not hard to imagine a product similar to Facebook Home, where users receive news updates and other tidbits on their lock screens--perhaps culled from Twitter's "Discover" tab--without having to open the Twitter app directly. Cover's contextual cues may be able to help Twitter figure out what types of information to show.
"They share our vision that smartphones can be a lot smarter--more useful and more contextual--and together we're going to make that happen," the creators wrote. "We'll be building upon a lot of what makes Cover great, and we're thrilled to create something even better at Twitter."
Unfortunately for existing Cover users, the acquisition does seem to mark the end of the line for the existing Cover app, which is still only in beta. Cover's creators say the app will remain in the Google Play Store "for now," and will still receive critical updates, but active development will slow down as the team shifts its focus to Twitter. Post-acquisition app shutdowns are all too common, so don't be surprised if Twitter closes the book on Cover before long.