Insta-fail: Instagram Serves Up Android Customers On A Silver Platter

June 15, 2011

Instagram figuratively smacked me in the face this weekend, loudly announcing itself on my Twitter feed and via my morning Mashable update. I had a stream of people sharing artfully colored photos about their lives, fixies and sometimes mundane scenery.

Of course, I was instantly intrigued. Upon giving the application the up and down, I quickly realized that Instagram is a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures — but only if you and your friends have iPhones.

Fail. I own a Droid.

Who is Instagram to deem my phone’s platform less worthy of photo sharing? Shocked by the snub, I decided to investigate why some applications are available for iPhone and not Android OS. With the introduction of the Android platform, the smartphone world is no longer dominated by Apple. On top of that, in March Android was announced as the No. 1 smartphone platform in the United States, overcoming RIM and iOS devices. It seems ass backwards to ignore a third of the smartphone market, especially Droid users who heavily use applications to customize their smartphones. Incensed and shocked, I can only ask myself, why would a company ignore a large chunk of the app market?

According to some, it’s because iOS is easier to develop for and is more financially lucrative (I have my doubts about information pulled from an Apple developer’s conference). But, in the end business is business and ignoring an easily accessible share of the market allows room for competition to swoop in and steal the lowest hanging fruit. I’m not saying that Instagram doesn’t deserve snaps for its obscene growth and popularity. But, while receiving acclaim for their development, there is a gaping hole where Android users are being offered on a silver platter.

Some alternative options for Android users include:

  • Lightbox is an up-and-coming photo sharing application that is being developed solely for smartphones operating on the Android OS.
  • Little Photo is currently used by my co-worker Cydney Wuerffel as a photo effect app on her Droid smartphone.

Take a look at the photos of Club Jager. One photo was altered with Instagram on iOS and the other with Little Photo on Android OS. Can you tell which photo is altered with what application?

Little Photo Image

Was this photo, courtesy of Cydney Wuerffel, altered with Instagram?

Instagram Image

Or, was this photo, courtesy of Andrew Miller, altered with Instagram?

I would guess not. Although Little Photo is simply a photo retouching app and not a social photo-sharing application, Lightbox will integrate social aspects into photo sharing for Android smartphones. It’s comparative to Instagram and takes Droid photo sharing to a two-way level and away from simple uploading sites, like Flickr.

By failing to develop an Instagram application for Android OS, the loyalty of Droid smartphone users is being cultivated through alternative applications and, perhaps, simply sharing photos via Twitter. Will the lack of an initial Droid app render Instagram useless for those operating on the Android OS? It’s too early to tell. But I think it’s a bad business move to ignore half of the heavy app-user market.

And, let’s be honest, I’m bitter.

Side note: Instagram officials say they are developing an Android application, but haven’t disclosed a release date.

Side note No. 2: The top photo above was taken with Little Photo. The second was taken with Instagram.