How the feed looks
Instagram - the dastardly easy photo-sharing app - has been a darling of the iPhoneography community since its launch in October 2010. It had over one million subscribers within a month and two million within six weeks, all snapping photos, applying filters, and sharing them with the world via a live stream. Now, it has in excess over 30 million subscribers and over 5 million photos are uploaded every day. But anyone with an Android phone couldn't join in the fun because there wasn't an Android app. All the fun was reserved for iPhone-owners. Until today, that is, when Instagram launched its Android version. At last, anyone with a camera-phone running Android 2.2 or above with support for OpenGL ES 2 can download the app, for free, and start snapping and sharing.
If you're wondering just how left-out the Android crowd were feeling, there were over 430,000 people who'd signed up to the Instagram-for-Android waiting list.
Whether this is just people jumping on a bandwagon or they are genuinely excited to be able to share snippets of their days photographically, it doesn't really matter. The numbers are incredible. All of Instagram's numbers are incredible.
The same team who built the app for iOS also worked on the Android incarnation, with the intention of making the experience as similar as possible between the two platforms. Although there are a couple of features missing from the Android version that are extant on the iOS version (Tilt Shift/Blur, Share from Feed, Live Preview and Share to Flickr), they should be coming soon; but the filters and the community are the same. There're no features on the Android app that aren't on the iOS version, and this is something that Instagram intends to maintain.
So apart from ironing out a few kinks in the system and bringing the Android app completely up to speed, where next for Instagram? They're being pretty reticent about the future: 'We have nothing to announce at this time, but we are always actively considering ways to expand Instagram's utility to everyone in the world.' That could mean bringing it to other phones, but it could also mean making an app suitable for all those millions of beautiful tablets that are sliding their ways into people's bags and onto their coffee tables. Wouldn't that make sense?
Wherever Instagram goes next, I can't see it being in a hurry - after all, it took over a year to develop a non-iOS app - but if it's even half as eagerly anticipated as the Android version, then the astonishing rise of the photo-sharing app will take another - slow, but carefully placed - step towards social media domination.