The iPhoneist and FAndroid Instagram’er

Instagram used to be an iOS-only photo sharing app and most Instagram’ers of course favored the exclusivity of the community, until April of this year when an Android version was eventually released, spawning an even more diverse community of phoneographers, with a growth rate of about 10 million users on average per month. And since it’s officially part of Facebook, there’s no stopping Instagram taking over the social media scene by storm.

I used to Instagram via iPhone only, hash-tagging myself the iPhoneist, but having founded IGersManila Philippines – the global community for Filipino Instagram’ers, I thought I needed to also understand and appreciate the Android experience. And thanks to Globe’s Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and Bacolod’s MassKara Festival 2012, I have become a FAndroid as well. Find out if Instagram’ing is equally fun with Android.

Actually, Android is quite an overwhelming experience, what with more, if not better, device choices and OS flavors. While there are understandably obvious differences in interface design, Instagram for iOS version 3.1.2 and for Android version 3.2.0 both offer the key features and simple workflow IGers are familiar with. Setting aside the similarities, let’s look at the elements that stood out in the Android version.

In the screenshot above, the profile tab in the Android version (right) includes a search option, whereas you search for users and hashtags in iOS via the Explore tab only.

A feature unique to the Android version is the option to use the native camera app of your device, just go to Camera Settings and deselect Use Instagram’s Advanced Camera option (screenshot below). This provides you with more control on your compositions, allowing you to use the more powerful features of your Android camera.

So, while iOS users would normally use other photo editing and filter apps prior to uploading to Instagram, with this camera setting feature, Android users get more creative flexibility and exposure options, within Instagram.

Aside from the missing live filters (which will soon be phased out, though it’s retained in iPhone 4/4S with the last update), sharing via email and save to library options (below) have been skipped for the Android counterpart app.

Along with the camera advantage, a notable feature in Android is the integration of Dropbox (a free app for storing and sharing files across all devices), making uploading of photos to Instagram easy and simple. Using Dropbox for Android, you can actually export a photo directly to Instagram, that’s fast and straightforward, compared to having to download a photo from Dropbox first, before you can share to Instagram in iOS. 

Above are some of the photos I snapped in Bacolod, easily accessible in Dropbox for sharing to Instagram.

If you’re into photo editing and wants to explore the use of artistic effects other than the 17 filters already built-in in Instagram, then there’s no shortage of apps for Android Instagram’ers. Apple’s App Store clearly is the leader here with its huge collection of creativity apps but Google Play Store is surely catching up, offering apps that are mostly free or priced lower.

If you’re both an iOS and Android Instagram’er like me or going entirely Android, here are photography apps with iOS counterparts to get you started. They’re free with paid upgrade options.

Pixelr-o-matic is a favorite among IGers, easy-swiping for applying retro and texture effects, including dramatic lights and artistic frames.

Photoshake let’s you create a random collage of photos simply by shaking your device, with themes, borders, filters, balloons, text, and fun stickers.   

If you want more flexibility, Photo Editor by Aviary offers more editing tools such as color balance, temperature, and adjustments, cropping, rotating, and straightening, free filters and other enhancement features.

There are of course other apps designed entirely for Android, but I can only pick a few that make Instagram’ing more enjoyable. I have several folders of photography apps in my iPhone 4S, as opposed to only five apps in my Globe Galaxy Note 2 – that’s because its camera is already feature-rich.

So whether you’re an iPhone purist or prefer the more open platform and the overwhelming features of Samsung smartphones, you get the same addicting photo snapping and sharing experience, with unique capabilities that are somehow just a matter of taste.

Now go get yourself a Globe Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and while you’re at it, why not Go Android and join the growing community of Android users and learn how you can make the most out of your Android device.

Your thoughts?