Is Instagram for Android really worth all the hype?

So now that Instagram has “finally” launched for the Android platform, can we start breathing again? Put syrup on our pancakes again? Uninstall all of the other Android camera apps? Did we just see a puff of smoke dissipate over the glorious Instagram community?

For many (most?) iPhone and iPod touch owners, Instagram is old news by now. Apparently some 30 million users have signed up for it and/or downloaded the free app. For Android users, it was supposed to be a breath of fresh air. Or something. Apparently, some argue that Instagram for Android is better than Instagram for iPhone/iPod. If that is indeed the case, then I’m really wondering what the hype is all about.

Instagram for Android does very few things that Android users didn’t have before. With apps like Camera360 and Pixlr-O-Matic (and many many more), the available effects, frames, and other photo options surpass that of Instagram by far. The Instagram app for Android looks and behaves like a quick “conversion hack”. It behaves almost like an iPhone app. It doesn’t seem to hook into the regular camera photo shoot process (which allows, for example, Dropbox to push recently uploaded images to the “Camera Uploads” folder). It has very few effects, and the camera controls are very limited.

Granted, if the Instagram photo sharing community is what you’ve been waiting for, this is for you. If you typically share your photos on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. then Instagram won’t do much for you.

What’s also odd is that given all the time they’ve had to prepare for the launch, one could argue that they would at least have had the time to correct the URL:s on the actual web pages that showcase your photos. If I upload an Instagram photo, the page on which it is displayed links to iTunes; where of course, I cannot download the Android Instagram app…

Why do compact digital cameras have “rounded corners” these days?

If you’re a long-term user of compact digital cameras, you may have noticed that very few manufacturers can keep their designers from changing at least sixty-four details of the physical camera housing of their brand new and shiny models. Most of the changes are subtle, some are not. I prefer DSLR (or “Digital Single-Lens Reflex”) cameras for most shootings, but the compact digital cameras are great for party shots, or for those times when you just can’t be bothered bringing all your whizz-bang gear.

Without getting into a brand-religious-war, I’ve been rather fond of many of Canon’s IXUS series compact digital cameras. You, of course, have your own preferred brand and model. Most of the early IXUS cameras had a great feature that I’m beginning to think was a feature by accident or necessity.

That the long side at the bottom of the camera is flat is something most people take for granted, and it makes sense. If you’re going to put the camera down, you want it to remain immobile and stay where you put it. It’s also great if you have no tripod and want to take a shot that requires more time or less vibrations than you can manage with the camera hand-held. The early IXUS series also had the two short sides being more or less flat, making it possible to take portrait-style photos in bad light without a tripod. Being able to put the camera down is of course also great for self-timer shots.

For the past few years, many manufacturers have decided that we don’t need to take self-timed portrait-style photos. They put out model after model with “rounded corners” and a number of other “enhancements” that makes it next to impossible to put the camera down in portrait-style.

I don’t get it .. why would anyone want to take away this feature?