SXSW: Instagram Teases Android App

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Good news for Android users who love faux-vintage photos: Instagram’s Android app is nearing completion.

Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom briefly flashed the app on stage at South by Southwest. The Android app is in private beta, CNN reported, and will be finished “really soon.”

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Systrom didn’t give a full demo, and he told TechCrunch that the app isn’t totally ready for a walkthrough yet. But he did offer a bit of tantalization for the Android army. “In some ways, it’s better than our iOS app. It’s crazy,” he said.

Instagram is a free photography app for applying custom filters — many of them with a retro aesthetic — and sharing the images on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. Systrom said the iOS app (pictured) now has 27 million registered users. It also has the highest possible average user rating of five stars across nearly 400,000 reviews.

Despite this popularity, Instagram has been slow to bring its app to Android, even though Android currently has a greater share of the smartphone market than the iPhone. The company started hiring engineers and designers for an Instagram Android app last August, and in December, said it had two people working on it.

Co-founder Mike Krieger told TechCrunch that the Android app was slow-going because the company was focused on scaling its iPhone app. “We just had priorities,” he said. “Had we tried to be both on Android and the iPhone at the same time, it would have been tough to innovate in the way that we have.”

In the meantime, Android users can get their vintage photo fix through Pixlr-o-matic or picplz. As for Windows Phones, Systrom said Instagram is looking into it as a possible future platform.

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