Instagram (BETA) arrives on Windows Phone!

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Instagram Windows Phone

Back at Nokia World 2013, Nokia announced that the official Instagram was finally coming to Windows Phone “in the coming weeks”. Well, Windows Phone users can now rejoice! It’s arrival was announced earlier today on Facebook, and the app is now live in the Windows Phone store:

Today, we’re excited to bring you Instagram for Windows Phone.Over the past three years, the Instagram community has grown to more than 150 million people and reaches every corner of the globe. Our mission is to give everyone the ability to capture and share the moments around them, so our team has been working hard to make sure that the tens of millions of people around the world with Windows Phones can share their moments on Instagram as well.

Instagram is a place where people come to be inspired and connect with others, and we’re thrilled to welcome Windows Phone users to the community.

Download Instagram today from the Windows Store! http://instagram.com/download/windows

It is only a beta app, but we’ll take anything we can get at this point. The app version is 0.1.0.0, meaning there are a number of features that are either missing or still being worked on, but the official Instagram blog adressess this and ensures users that they were focused on bringing the app to the Windows Phone platform as quickly as possible, focusing on the “core features”:

Today, we’re excited to bring you Instagram for Windows Phone.When we launched Instagram for Android in March of 2012, the community was 30 million strong and growing fast. The Instagram community is now more than 150 million people and reaches every corner of the globe.

In that past year, however, Instagram isn’t all that’s grown. We’ve also seen the rise of a new mobile platform as tens of millions of people around the world have taken to Windows Phones. Our mission is to give everyone the ability to capture and share the moments around them, so our team has been working hard to bring Instagram to Windows Phone users everywhere.

We wanted to make Instagram available to people with Windows Phones as quickly as possible, so we focused on creating an awesome experience with Instagram’s core features. We’re not finished, and our team will continue developing the Windows Phone app to keep releasing features and bringing you the best Instagram possible.

Instagram is a place where people come to be inspired and connect with others, and we’re thrilled to welcome Windows Phone users to the community. We can’t wait to see what you’ll create.

Learn more about Instagram for Windows phone at help.instagram.com and download it today from the Windows Phone Store!

The blog also addresses the recent growth that the Windows Phone OS has seen lately, indicating that this growth has made it an attractive investment for development. The past year or so has been met with a number of unofficial Instagram clients, and even Nokia’s own #2InstaWithLove app basically acting as a petition to get the app in the store. It’s nice to see Nokia’s hard work paying off, especially with the Lumia line putting such an emphasis on camera technology.

Instagram for Windows Phone Instagram for Windows Phone Instagram for Windows Phone

The app functions more or less like the iOS app, giving us toggles to switch between views such as your profile, notifications, and the home feed. Unfortunately the beta app lacks the ability to use the camera from within the application, but we can upload from within our photo application. The posting from your phone requires 2 clicks, first selecting the Instagram camera button, and a second click to open the phone’s camera, an option which you’ll find at the bottom of the screen. This seems pretty unintuitive, especially when compared to the iOS app that takes you straight to the camera. By default, the app takes you to the camera roll, displaying photos already taking within your phone. The implementation of the this is a little awkward though, as we are given a list of folders from the photo app, with very small font that seems almost impossible to accurately click on without accidentally selecting another folder. The awkward and non-straight forward implementation of the camera access should hopefully be addressed soon, as I initially believed that the camera was unacceptable within Instagram. And given that this is only a beta app, we can expect features to be included and improved upon in future updates. Otherwise, from my limited use of it, Instagram for Windows Phone seems to work very smoothly. Of course, there are some slight differences between this version and the one for iOS.

Instagram for Windows Phone/iOS
A comparison of Instagram for Windows Phone and iOS. The former is on the left, with iOS on the right.

The cosmetic differences are quite easy to spot. On iOS, the toggles between views all remain in a bar that lies on the bottom of the app, with the refresh button usually on the top right corner. The search function only seems to come up in the Explore view. The Windows Phone version seems to not take screen real estate into account, as both the top and bottom both include menu bars to toggle through functions. On top you’ll find the view toggles sitting next to the Instagram moniker, which remain there as you browse (on iOS, the moniker and refresh buttons disappear into the top of the screen when browsing through photos in the home feed). On the bottom, you’ll find the usual Windows Phone style bar with 4 functions: search (which can now be accessed at most points within the app), the camera/post function remains in the same spot, and the refresh button has now been moved to the bottom right. We also find the settings which can be accessed to the far right, something that should be familiar to Windows Phone users. Here we find options to edit your profile, find & invite friends, and view posts you’ve liked. When swiping through the carousel, you’ll see preferences where you can edit sharing and push notifications, as well as a toggle for Live Tile Notifications. Finally one more swipe through the carousel takes you to the support area.

Instagram for Windows PhoneWhile the Windows Phone beta app still has much room for improvement, it’s already shaping up to be a better app than the one found on iOS. For starters we are given the option to pin the app to our homescreen, and while we are not yet given an extra large tile, this does open up many possibilities for it to gain more functionality such as sifting through new photos on your home feed. Another great feature for Windows Phone is the ability to share photos directly to Instagram from your photo library, a function that you can’t even perform on iOS without opening the application first. With this we are already seeing early integration of the app into Windows Phone, giving it one up over iOS. Hopefully with future updates to Windows Phone (perhaps 8.1/Blue), we can expect to see deeper integration such as the ability to share and edit without needing to open the app at all (I can dream, can’t I?). Also the app does not yet function as a lens application, so there’s something to look forward to as well.

So there you have it! One of the most requested apps for Windows Phone has finally reached us! Not only can this keep current users increasingly pleased with the growing platform, but it could bring potential new users who were previously deterred or on the fence about adopting the OS due to a lack of an official app. Meanwhile there’s still a long way to go before Windows Phone catches up with its competition, but now having Instagram can only help with its adoption.

Have you downloaded the beta yet? Let us know what your thoughts on the app are and what improvements you would like to see in any future updates. Meanwhile, feel free to follow the Nokia Innovation team on their accounts:

Lenny B: http://instagram.com/lennybons

Erick M: http://instagram.com/gwapz

Jimmy L: http://instagram.com/jimmyjklee

Chris W: http://instagram.com/chriswwwright

Martyn B: http://instagram.com/MartynBrett

Derrek L: http://instagram.com/derrekleigh

 

Download: Instagram (BETA)

Sources: Facebook, Official Instagram Blog

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