The Many Problems With Instagram For Android

***This post was written by Zaarly Android lead Giovanni Vatieri. Not only did he learn English in the past 18-months, but he's hiring very cool Android developers. Reach out to him on Twitter***


As you may have seen the Android version of Instagram release a week ago. Here a snippet from their official blog.  They said, "...we’re thrilled to offer a way for Android users to join their iOS friends on Instagram to share their photos with the world." Clearly, there is something wrong in that sentence. At this point you are probably looking for syntax errors or grammatical mistakes. None exist. What is wrong is the word "friends".

As an Android user, I have been waiting for a long time to have Instagram on my device,
so I have followed their first day with big attention, interest, and curiosity from a different

As an Android developer I was quickly impressed by its responsiveness. The UI reacted immediately to my inputs. All the images loaded fast and a good cache mechanism implementation avoided multiple loading of the same images. More over the UI is simple, clean and elegant. And why don't I mention it has never crashed or frozen (for a more detailed list take a look at this post from the googler Rich Hyndman).

On the other side I was very disappointed because the app didn't follow the major Android standard guidelines, without going too deep let's just mention few of them:

Tabs on the bottom instead of being on top. Overflow button in the top action bar opens the Settings page and some of the Android navigation patterns are 'broken'. Here an interesting futuristic design from Guenther Beyer that shows how the app should in theory look like. Let's go back to the word "friends" mentioned earlier.

As a final user I've immediately noticed on Twitter a weird sequence of negative comments from iOS users. At the very beginning the common feeling was just surprise:

"Instagram on Android?!?"
"Is Instagram available for Android? Really?!"
"Why is Instagram on Android?!"

Slowly the surprise started turning into pure hate:

"Android users broke Instagram on IPhone, can't upload my pics anymore."
"Don't y'all android losers post pics on Instagram from a mirror and have your showing 'em
because y'all suck."
"Man, Android users getting Instagram is like the losers in high school taking over
the cool table in the cafeteria."
"Android user? Don't follow me please."
"Don't want your blurry pics taken with your cheap Android phone in my feed."

Honestly, I was shocked. To me that reaction was so inappropriate and unexpected! I have always knew that IPhone users were a bit snobby and Apple did an amazing job make their users feel like they are actually the product designers. In part it represents the reason for their incredible success, but people (IPhone owners): don't forget that you only bought the phone, you haven't designed/built it :-).

Jokes aside, this matter "stinks" of classicism. The Android community has been labeled as the "poor class" which turns this fact into something a bit more serious but lets not go too far.

Instagram IPhone users should be happy to have more followers to share pictures with. The Android Instagram app had 1MM downloads and 50k ratings in less than 24h. Very impressive. At the end of the day all of us just want to share snapshots of our daily life becoming, at least virtually, stars for few seconds, minutes or hours :-)...

In conclusion, let's sum up the first day on Google Play for Instagram:

- Over 1MM downloads in less than 24h
- Hundreds/thousands of iOS users mad at Android users
- Bunch of Android Devs mad at Instagram

Well, I guess that when you run a startup with less than 20 employees, all these reactions means only one thing: #win. Especially considering that just yesterday Instagram announced that they have been acquired by Facebook.

All this is just amazing: super excited for the team. Congrats Instagram!