Photo: @goodyspics via Instagram
This weekend at SXSW, Instagram announced that its long-awaited Android version will be here very soon.That’s not news. The Android app has been in the works for some time now.
However, the announcement is symbolic.
For many, Instagram filtered pics posted on Facebook and Twitter were a symbol of a privileged ownership of an iOS device. The availability of the the app on Android platforms shows the growth of the Android market and the diminishing exclusivity of owning an Apple iOS device. You no longer need an Apple device to have access to great apps, and the best apps are likely to be offered on both platforms.
That doesn’t mean Android doesn’t still face an uphill battle. Mobile developers still prefer an iOS platform over Android for a variety of reasons including the fact that Apple users are more likely to spend money on apps.
Developers of some popular apps like Instapaper and Flipboard have no intention of adopting an Android platform at all.
There is also the interface issue where Android apps tend not to look as good as their iOS peers. Google is still having trouble enforcing design standards like Apple does.
Nonetheless, there is opportunity here for Android’s app ecosystem to gain momentum in the smartphone race. iPhones are still great, but there are many Android phones that are great too. (The Galaxy Nexus is a good example). While iOS users have one phone to choose from, the Android platform offers many phones for consumers to choose from.
Hopefully, Instagram’s move will spark a new trend where you no longer need an iPhone to get access to the latest and greatest apps. The momentum can definitely shift.