First, let me make an introduction since I’m new to writing on the blog. I’m Spencer Burke and I work with the Appboy team in New York. I have been doing business development and working with Hillel behind the scenes on the blog. Hillel’s built an awesome community here so it’s great to have a chance to write for everyone.
App of the Year
Those of you who have been following the blog, know that we’re fans of Instagram and have been for some time. Last week, Apple heralded Instagram as the “definitive photo-sharing app” and awarded it the iPhone App of the Year. If you haven’t tried Instagram yet, it’s probably time to jump on the bandwagon.
I only recently became an iPhone user (on a 3Gs no less – which we use for testing), but the appeal of Instagram became clear very quickly. All too often, I’d take a picture on my phone and it would sit in an album, never to be viewed again or taken out briefly to help retell a story. Using the app to take pictures, is not only fast but gives you easy access to cool, often artsy effects which you can easily send out to the Instagram network and your friends.
What’s next for Instagram?
It’s been announced that Instagram is launching on Android and hoping to double its user base. How can they do this without compromising quality? Facebook recently pulled it off. The formula – stay true to the iOS layout and make the UI fast. The challenge on Android is to build for numerous hardware specs and versions of the OS, but leave the user experience flawless.
One of the things Instagram got right has been its reliability as the popularity of the app has increased. Opening up to the Android ecosystem will really test the scalability of the network. If Instagram stays true to its intuitive design and social elements, they could join the thin ranks of great Android apps.
What will be 2012’s App of the Year?
Instagram does a beautiful job of integrating into existing networks while enhancing the functionality of the iPhone camera. To quote Eric Schmidt from Le Web conference (video here) – “All the new interesting applications are going to be some combination of social, local and mobile.” Instagram capitalizes on the inherently local nature of a photo and seamlessly integrates into social networks.
If someone told you at the start of the year that an app for sharing photos would be named app of the year, would you have believed them? I would have been a little skeptical. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn seem like monoliths when it comes to social networking. However, we keep hearing about new networks for specific parts of our social lives – Google+ for semi-private circles, RunKeeper for fitness, Foursquare for places and then we need Sonar to find our connections in person and Shaker to interact with them in the virtual world.