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MANILA, Philippines – One app could change the course of a struggling mobile operating system. That app is Instagram, and the smartphone OS is Windows Phone 8.
We’ve heard rumors for several years now, but finally, it’s official: the popular mobile photo sharing app will be available for Windows Phone in the “coming weeks.”
Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom made the announcement at the Nokia World Conference in Abu Dhabi last Tuesday, October 22. Systrom said his company’s ultimate goal is “to bring Instagram to everyone who wants to use it.” He adds, “We’re looking forward to watching the Windows Phone community use Instagram to capture and share beautiful moments in the coming weeks.”
Nokia also posted the announcement on its Twitter account.
Roughly 175,000 apps are available on the Windows Phone app store, but this number pales in comparison to what’s available on iOS and Android. At its fall event in San Francisco, Apple said it now has 1 million iOS apps in its app store.
Availability of apps has always been one of the biggest challenges of the Windows Phone OS.
During the launch of Windows Phone 8 last year, Microsoft stressed that 46 of the top 50 most popular apps were available for Windows Phone, but the absence of Instagram was glaring.
This prompted independent developer Rudy Huyn to come up with 6tag, an ad-supported app that is the closest thing Windows Phone users get to Instagram.
Earlier this year, Apple revealed that Instagram was the 3rd most downloaded free iOS app of all time, trailing top app Facebook and ahead of YouTube and Twitter. Of these top apps, only Twitter is invested in the platform. Unlike iOS and Android, where Facebook and YouTube apps are developed in-house (by Facebook and Google respectively), Microsoft develops the Windows Phone versions of Facebook and YouTube. This underscores the difficulty of getting companies to develop for the platform.
An Instagram-free Windows Phone 8 was much more evident this year with the release of the Nokia Lumia 925 and the 41-megapixel Lumia 1020. Both are great phones that shoot amazing photos, but it’s been very difficult to recommend that users switch because the apps they rely on every day are not available.
Another company that could develop more for Windows Phone is Google. Hopefully this move by Instagram paves the way for more quality apps. While unchallenged as the third most popular smartphone OS, it is still a long way behind industry leaders Android and iOS. And in this app-centric world, it doesn’t make sense when there isn’t an app for everything. –Rappler.com