TMCnet Feature Free eNews Subscription
March 12, 2012

Instagram Capitalizes on Mobile Explosion with iOS Photo App, Readies Android App

By Kerry Doyle, Contributing Writer

Every decade, the world sees a new paradigm for end user computing. So far, there have been distinct eras for mainframe computing, minicomputers, personal computing, the desktop Internet, and most recently, devices for mobile Internet access. And while programming as a skill set, in general, has never been undervalued, it has gone through periods of lower and higher demand.

The increase in Web and mobile applications as well as the expansion of Web 2.0, SaaS (News - Alert) (Software as a Service), and cloud computing mean that the need for applications expertise will continue to grow. That’s good news for Instagram, developer of a photo-sharing app that has taken a definitive lead on iOS, is readying a new Android (News - Alert) app, and has surpassed 27 million registered users, according to the company.

With an explosion of mobile devices, mobile ecommerce is expected to grow to one quarter of ecommerce sales in the United States by next year. With the proliferation of mobile devices and mobile operating systems, businesses are challenged with developing new mobile applications and Internet services to interact with their customers. As more of the economy shifts towards personal recommendations and social media accelerates the impact of personal recommendations on almost every type of business, companies will increasingly need ecommerce and app development strategies to take advantage of this approach.

According to Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, “Mobile has created a totally different dynamic for discovering apps. You’re sitting in a bar and your friend is taking some pictures and then you ask what app they’re using.” Social networking and word of mouth are some of the ways the company initially turned around a native iOS app that seemed to marry elements of paid camera app Hipstamatic with social features.

It was perfect timing since the iPhone (News - Alert) 4 was just arriving on the market and the device finally had a camera that produced photos of comparable quality to what point-and-shoot cameras could do. Apple (News - Alert) also had an installed base of iOS devices that was finally large enough to produce the network effects that Instagram needed to take off.

Launched in the fall of 2010, Instagram grew out of some unsuccessful experiments in location sharing. While the company would have been too late to a crowded space that included Foursquare and ultimately Facebook (News - Alert) Places, Systrom and Instagram co-founder, Mike Krieger, saw that their beta users were sharing tons of photos.

Once Instagram released their well-known photo app, it was soon a home run that quickly secured a top ranking among photography apps and then a consistently high ranking on the free app charts. On the first day, 25,000 registered users showed up. Months later, company received a $7 million Series A round led by Benchmark Capital, with participation from Baseline Ventures, Square CEO Jack Dorsey, Chris Sacca and Quora co-founder Adam D’Angelo.

By next year, global smartphone shipments – a subset of the mobile Internet device market – will exceed personal computer shipments for the first time in history. Just a year later, in 2013, global smartphone shipments are expected to exceed personal computer shipments according to some reports by more than 150 million units. Instagram hopes to be there to capitalize on this transition.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
» More TMCnet Feature Articles
Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox. [Free eNews Subscription]


» More TMCnet Feature Articles