Instagram for Android finally hit the
Market Play Store yesterday -- check out our Instagram on Android vs. Instagram on iPhone shootout -- and the reaction by some in the iOS community was... decidedly negative. It was almost like a TV sitcom when the pristine private pool is suddenly, forcibly opened to a flood of marauding masses. You know, like when AOL users finally got unrestricted internet access. (No doubt Android users would have felt them same way when Google+ opened up, had there been a similar flood...)
Some of it was obviously in jest, but a lot of it wasn't, and not just from the general population -- but from the higher profile technorati as well. And that's too bad. See, I love my iPhone, but I don't hate other phones, and I certainly don't hate the people who use other phones. Just like I don't hate the people who drive different types of cars, drink different brands of beer or soda, drive-through different franchises of fast food restaurants, or read comic books printed by different companies. I'm as tribal as the next person, but my tribe really doesn't give a crap if your tribe is into something else.
A while back, when Instagram for Android was first introduced, I wrote a guest editorial for Android Central trying the explain why Android users might enjoy Instagram. Let's face it, most modern smartphones can easily share photos right out of the box (tap Action button, tap Tweet, get on about your day). Some Android phones and user interfaces even have filters built right into the camera apps. But Instagram brings focus. It's just photos. If that's what you want to look at and enjoy, they're right there ready and waiting for you, without having to wade through tons of text tweets or likes to get to them.
Until yesterday, those photos were exclusively from iPhones and iPhoneographers. Today we have a much richer diversity in lenses and eyes. I can see photos from people I've known and admired for years, like Phil Nickinson, Jerry Hildenbrand, and Alex Dobie. I can also see photos from some great mobile cameras like the Galaxy S II and some of the HTC kit. (I can also take some iPod touch photos and upload those so the Galaxy Nexus owners won't feel so bad by comparison...)
Sure, there's some gentle ribbing to be given over things like the latest, greatest HTC One X not being supported, but that'll get fixed and then we'll see some great shots from that pretty damn good camera too. And frankly, I've got a right to see what ALL my friends can do when they take state-of-the-mobile-art images and reduce them to 1960s Polaroids, not just my iPhone friends.
So instead of hating on Instagram for allowing them in, or Android users for crashing our here-to-for exclusive iPhone party, I'm offering them a lounge chair and giving them a place to put down whatever beverages and snacks they brought to the party.
It's natural to fear change and a massive addition of divergent userbase to any social platform is about as big a change as online networks can have. But once everyone settles down and gets acquainted, it can be pretty great as well.
Goodness knows, something needs to disrupt the monotony of iPhone chick pics, bobble heads, pet shots, food pr0n, and landscapes. May as well be Android chick pics, bobble heads, pet shots, food pr0n, and landscapes...
(And if that's terribly disappointing to you and you would have preferred some fervent denouncement of all things Instagram and Android, topped with a hearty rah-rah for iPhone-über-alles, then my apologies. Feel free to read this piece backwards.)