updated 03:20 pm EST, Wed December 7, 2011
Instagram explains lack of Android version
Instagram answered a longstanding call for an Android port at Le Web with confirmation one was in the works. CEO Kevin Systrom told CNET and others that the photo sharing app had two engineers on the task. He had no timeline for when the Android build would be finished, although the variety in hardware was likely to set it back relative to the version for Apple's iOS devices.
As to why the app had started on iOS first, it was what the founders had at the time the company got started, Systrom said. However, it was Apple's attention to image quality that was helping it grow, since the iPhone 4's big boost to camera quality last year in sync with the Retina Display both drew attention to the app. The iPhone 4S has already been credited with adding two million new users in one month.
The port to Android, which has the largest portion of the smartphone market, could help increase Instagram's overall influence. It would be starting well behind Apple, though, with 50 million total iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices.
Systrom did point to long-expected plans to run ads and generate money for the service, which is still depending on startup investments to run. He hinted that company participation in the existing service from brands like Audi, Burberry, and Kate Spade was a clue as to what they might do in a formal system. Instagram was primarily waiting on building an even larger user base before it switched on ads; companies wanted to see the scale, the executive said.