Why Android Needs Instagram (And Other Photo Filter Apps)

Instagram for Android is getting closer to reality and I can feel all of you out there salivating with anticipation. The creators claim that the Android version will be even better than the iPhone app, which is a nice change from the norm.

At first I didn’t understand the appeal of Instagram even though I own a Lomo camera (that I haven’t used in years). Making your pictures look fuzzy and old? Been there, done that.

Now that I’ve started testing cameras on smartphones and tablets I’m starting to get it more. For instance, I’ve been using the Galaxy Tab 7.7 for the past week. It’s a sweet tablet hardware-wise with the exception of the camera, which is not great in a big way. Here are a couple of pictures I took indoors in good to medium lighting conditions.

Original Picture of Mike Original Picture - Aly
Click to Enbiggen

Not exactly the kind of thing you want to share or keep. There are many problems with the camera, which I’ll share in my review, but the point is this: even those less than great images can still look fine with some nice photo filters.

I downloaded the Pixlr-o-matic app this weekend and started applying the many, many filters, light effects, and frames to pictures taken with the Tab 7.7. Pictures lack sharpness? Add more fuzz! See a lot of noise? Pump it up a bit. Colors washed out? Now everything is kind of orangey-green.

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It looks all artsy and on purpose instead of just like a crappy picture.

Some newer phones have better cameras, and maybe now that the iPad 3rd gen raised the bar, so will future tablets. For those stuck with less than optimal cameras, Instagram and other filter apps at least turn the pictures into something interesting and worth sharing.

Even people with decent cameras can benefit because, let’s be honest, having a better camera doesn’t automatically make you a better photographer. I think this is another big reason behind the popularity behind Instagram. Suddenly everyone thinks they’re making museum-worthy shots of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Nothing wrong with having a dream.

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