While some less-than-classy Instagram fans vent about how the availability of the app to Android users will ruin the quality of their established community, I think to myself, it was about time to make my favorite app accessible to all.
Don’t get me wrong, I also believe that the content shared on Instagram is gold and as an addicted Toronto-based Iger, I believe that the communities created by the app is one of the most valuable currently active in the space. However, most of us are forgetting to look at this initiative as a very strategic move, not to mention the myths related to the threat that Android users represent to the homogenous community of iOS users.
Android Devices and the User Experience
One of the most popular arguments amongst iPhone users who are against Instagram for Android is that the rival devices will be adding low quality images to the community. Being an Apple user for years now, I confess that I started to have second thoughts about my loyalty to Jobs’ brainchild when I came across the sleek HTC One X 8 Megapixel camera. We are all drinking the Kool-aid, but it’s getting harder to ignore that Android devices are catching up with market demands faster than Apple can respond.
Apple fans may argue that the HTC One X is the top of line when it comes to Android devices and don’t really reflect the average quality of most devices out there. Fair enough, you have a point! However, when it comes to artistic expression, rudimentary technology can actually become the artist’s signature. Who am I to judge in a time when we are all producing and sharing content?
A Growing Community
As a business decision, the Instagram team had nothing else to do but enter the biggest mobile market. According to recent Comscore data, Google’s Android hit 50.1% share of the U.S. market last February and is not showing signs of slowing down. Research conducted by the website Business Insider last year concluded that Android users tend to be more loyal to the operating system than iOS users. According to the study, Android users would never buy an iPhone because they “hate Apple,” while iPhone users would switch to an Android device if it was better than the iPhone (guilty!)
When it comes to a community-based app like Instagram, growing its audience is crucial to the product’s survival. Nearly half a million people shared their email addresses with the company hoping to be notified early about the Android release after Instagram’s co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger announced the Android version of the app at SXSW. So far, the app has been rated by over 79,000 people on Google Play and is signing up more than 2,000 new users per minute.
Will the App Store be the Same After That?
Another important variable that has been ignored by most Apple fans is the impact that the Instagram for Android app will have on other apps used to develop pictures and/or use the Instagram API to offer additional services. Apps such as Camera Plus and PicFrame would be ignoring a great opportunity if their developers decide to stick with the iOS market. Now that Instagram have done it, it makes it okay for everybody else who is not a bank or the government to explore both markets and still be cool.
And for those skeptical iPhone users questioning the quality of Android Instagram pictures, take a look for yourself.
In your opinion, which other popular iPhone app will launch an Android version soon? Will the “Android user invasion” scare you away from the Instagram community? Let us know in the comments below!