Instagram For Android Hands-On: Hello, Old Friend

Instagram For Android Hands-On: Hello, Old Friend

In what may be the most anticipated iOS-only app to cross platforms, Instagram is finally here for Android devices. And it’s (nearly) every bit as good as the original.

Android becomes the first platform other than iOS to be supported by Instagram, the highly popular social network and photo-sharing service that has some 25 million users, until now only on iPhones, iPods and iPads. The company had intentionally been methodical and, well, slow to release an app on additional platforms. But Instagram announced the new version in a blog post earlier today.

The app will work with Android devices running versions 2.2 and higher that support OpenGL ES 2. It seems to have rough feature parity with the iOS versions (including sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare, with Flickr on the way), the familiar truckloads of filters and Lux—a feature that automatically fixes your photo processing.

You can download it right now. And you really should.

Hands-On Impressions

It’s a very slick-looking app. Every bit as beautiful as the iOS. The layout really takes advantage of the extra screen real estate you get on Android phones. Everything just fits, perfectly, which isn’t always the case for cross-platform apps. Clearly, they weren’t just twiddling their thumbs while they were going slow with this one.

The camera reacts quickly and took advantage of the Galaxy Nexus’ tap to focus and fast shutter speeds. You can also switch to the front-facing camera, if you so desire. It has all of the sharing features you’d expect, allowing you to instantly post your photos directly to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Tumblr. Once you’ve posted the pic, you can then share it to other social media or applications (Google+, Email, Dropbox, whatever).

There are 18 filters there for you to choose from, and you can turn frames on/off and do a simulated HDR. But there is one major missing feature: that little teardrop menu that lets you change the tilt-shift and vignetting. Android doesn’t have that yet, but we expect it’ll be added in a forthcoming update. Also, it appears that it doesn’t currently work on some Android phones, and possibly not on any Android tablets. We’ll keep you posted on this little app’s evolution. [Google Play]