Apr 2012 03

Apple users of the iPhone and iPad have come to love the little photo editing app of Instagram. It allows users to apply digital filters to their photographs and give them a heightened, often vintage style. Since October of 2010, Instagram has only been available in the Apple App Store. However, within the last year and a half, Instagram has become incredibly popular; it was named App of the year by Apple in 2011.

Today, Instagram was made available for the Android platform in the newly revamped Google Play Store. It allows users to alter their photos in the same way as the iOS version for Apple. While the functionality is largely the same, the Android version was released without some key features. For example, the Tilt Shift/Blur feature and the ability to share from one’s streaming feed, were held back in order to get the product out to market. Also, some Android users have complained that the app has been inconsistent with its use of the in-app camera interface as opposed to the stock Android camera interface. While this may not seem like a big issue, it can be frustrating when the stock camera’s aspect ratio does not fit the mandatory square format Instagram uses. This feature can be adjusted in the settings by checking the option to “Use Instagram’s Advanced Camera”, however it also warns that the “Advanced” camera is not compatible on all Android smartphones.

Perhaps this is why the “Advanced” camera has given me some issues while shooting. While testing the app on a Sprint Evo 4G, I noticed that when using the front facing camera, Instagram automatically shifted the entire picture downwards. For example, if I took a picture of my face, the photo that came out would show the lower half of my face and the top part of my chest. The rear facing camera showed no issues. This could be an isolated problem with the Evo 4G, so if you have experience on other Android phones, let us know in the comments section below.

As an app, Instagram is great for those who casually want to stylize and share their photos. However with Instagram’s popularity, several other competing apps have surfaced, such as StreamZoo and Pixlr-o-Matic. While both offer more filter selections and control over the final picture, they don’t have nearly the support and community engagement of Instagram.

Instagram, StreamZoo and Pixlr-o-Matic are all free in Google Play, so try each and use whichever suits your needs best. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.  


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