Every smartphone has a stock camera app. But it’s third-party ones that add interesting frills that have really taken off, such as Instagram. It has been downloaded onto more than 30 million iPhones since its launch in October 2010. Now, 18 months on, it has finally arrived for Android.
It’s an important milestone for its developer, given that the Android OS makes up half of the smartphone market. Instagram is also free, which goes down well with droid users. Since its arrival in the Google Play app store on April 3 it has already moved into the “1,000,000-5,000,000 installs” category and garnered more than 44,000 ratings, averaging a healthy 4.4 stars by the next morning.
The key elements of the app are retained, such as a range of free filters, image processing algorithms and border effects for your snaps, and the community aspect where you share images and follow what others are doing. It also includes sharing on to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare, with Flickr coming “very soon”.
The app works with any phone running Android 2.2 or greater (and which supports OpenGL ES 2). It’s compatible with front and rear cameras and offers a maximum resolution of 2,048 x 2,048. However, the limitations of some Android hardware mean that one or two features are currently absent, such as tilt-shift/blur focus effects, and it doesn’t yet work on Android tablets. This kind of fragmentation compared to iOS is an ongoing challenge for app creators.
Around five million photos a day are uploaded by iOS users, so we’ll see if the Android flock will swell those numbers by just as much if not more. Some sniffy iPhone fans have taken to Twitter to register their disgust that their exclusive club is now open to Android users. What on Earth will they think when Instagram also arrives for Windows phones, which is planned for later in 2012?
Instagram on Google Play