Instagram Now Available For Android

Instagram on iOS (left) and Android (right). Image via Instagram.

Instagram is now available for download at Google Play for use on Android devices. The popular app aims to replicate the familiar features of the original iOS version, down to the same algorithms for the filters and user interface. The app allows users to set retro filters to images and share them online.

Right now, however, the Instagram team say that “Tilt Shift/Blur, Share from Feed, Live Preview and Share to Flickr” are not yet in the Android version, but these features are expected in future versions. The company has prepared for the release, saying “our Engineering team has been focused on infrastructure scaling to ensure that users have the best experience possible” and that support material

Statistics made available for the release, show that more than 430,000 people were on the waiting list for the Android release, 30 million users were already using the iOS version and five million photos were taken each day.

The app has yet to be translated into a Windows Phone and Blackberry version. The team said “we have nothing to announce at this time, but we are always actively considering ways to expand Instagram’s utility to everyone in the world”.

New Android Design Guide for Ice Cream Sandwich Released

Google developers have released a new Android design guide for the latest Android 4.0, titled Ice Cream Sandwich. The design guide, like the iOS Human Interface Guidelines, will help designers maintain design consistency in their apps; some developers have previously criticized the Android for the lack of consistency in apps.

Christian Robertson, leader of the Android visual design group, said in a blog post that Android 4.0 has “enhanced the UI framework with new interactions and styles that will let you create Android apps that are simpler and more beautiful than ever before”.

The guide includes advice to using the Android style elements such as color, typography and display sizes. Google have also included Android “building blocks” and patterns such as using different views, navigation within apps and compatibility with Android 3.0. The design guide will not be enforced and is optional for developers.

Robertson said that the content will be updated  “more in-depth content” and that the Google Android team would also include blog posts on design to help developers.

Google Says Patents Used to Tax Android

Google has publicly criticized the use of “bogus patents”, saying that patents are being used to unfairly attack Google’s Android operating system for mobile devices. Google believes the consortium that purchased Nortel’s patents for $4.5 billion including Research In Motion, Apple, Microsoft, Ericsson, EMC and Sony as well as a bid for Novell’s old patents was done “to make sure Google didn’t get them.”

Google’s Chief Legal Officer David Drummond wrote in a Google blog post that patents were being used to wage “a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.” They pointed out that Microsoft demanded a $15 licensing fee for every Android phone produced and that Android manufacturers including Barnes & Noble, HTC, Motorola and Samsung were been targeted.

“Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it” and Google would extend its own patent profile to prevent litigation and to allow Android products to remain competitive.  Drummond continued saying “unless we act, consumers could face rising costs for Android devices — and fewer choices for their next phone.”

Ken Walker, general counsel for Google, also argued that patents were unfairly been used saying “the patent system should reward those who create the most useful innovations for society, not those who stake bogus claims or file dubious lawsuits”, in another Google blog post from April this year.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith, told Twitter followers “Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no.”