Breakthrough app Instagram’s arrival on Android ‘imminent’

12 Mar 2012

Epic photo-sharing app and a social network in its own right, Instagram has revealed at #SWSW12 that it is in testing mode for the long-awaited Android version of its service and that it has notched up an impressive 27m registered users.

What is particularly impressive about the 27m users is the suggestion that Instagram boasts an average 67pc daily usage rate amongst its users.

At least that’s what co-founder Kevin Systrom intimated at SXSW in Austin, Texas, when he said 67pc of users were on the app within 24 hours of his talk.

Instagram – which was last year named Apple’s iOS app of the year – allows users to capture and share photos and apply a number of distinctive filters to make their pictures even more memorable.

For example, you can give a photo a faded Seventies Polaroid feel with ‘Rise’, while razor-sharp, stark black-and-white shots are possible with Inkwell.

The app works particularly well, because as well as fostering its own network, it integrates gracefully with other social and blog networks, such as Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook.

The lack of an Android version up until now seems to have been a major gap oversight but in reality it seems the folks at Instagram are working hard to make it as compelling an experience on Android as it has been on iOS.

This makes sense – while Apple’s iOS ecosystem of devices can let app developers create with certainty, the multitude of different Android devices out there carries a threat that not all experiences will be good.

That’s why the app itself needs to be watertight.

At SXSW, Systrom has suggested that in some ways the new Android app will be better than the iOS app and said the company would not be nearly as successful if it tried to develop the two apps simultaneously for the two ecosystems.

There may be a lesson in that.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years