By Lukindo Tenga
Most times, using Windows Phone is pretty amazing. It’s different, it’s fast and smooth and comes with a lot of really good integrated features like the Bing visual search. But the fairy-tale comes to an end when you try to find the apps that you were used to using on other mobiles OS’s. Sometimes you do, and other times you don’t.
I use a Windows Phone. Most times the experience is pretty amazing. This is actually my second stint with the Microsoft mobile OS. The first time was with Nokia Lumia 900 which was running Windows Phone 7.5. I ended up returning the phone after trying it out for less than a month, but not because I didn’t like it. It was the carrier that I didn’t want to deal with (ditched AT&T for T-Mobile which was one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made, but more on that another time). But when I switched over to T-Mobile, the only Windows Phones they had were rather low-end. Besides, Windows Phone 8 was coming out soon and promised to bring with it a fresh batch of hardware. So I waited and continued to use my old Android. Finally T-Mobile introduced the Nokia Lumia 810 and I joined the Windows Phone bandwagon once again.
Like with Instagram. Since September 2012, we’d been hearing about how Instagram has been on the verge of coming out on Windows Phone. Nine months later, and still no official Instagram app. So I decided to compromise and see what alternatives I had for the official Instagram app on Windows Phone.
The apps I discovered could fall into basically two categories: apps that simply served as Instagram clients, and apps that were fully functional Instagram alternatives with their own separate photo sharing network and ecosystem. The names of the Instagram client apps (“Instacam” and “WPgram”) sounded like such cheap spinoffs that they quickly turned me off. But after trying one Instagram alternative and finding no one there that I knew, I decided to give the spinoffs a second chance.
I went through several Instgram client apps before I found anything worth keeping. Most of them were basically Instagram stalker apps: you couldn’t really upload any photos yourself, just browse and like other peoples’ photos. I finally found two apps that allowed you to upload your own photos: Metrogram, Instagraph, and Instance.
I know, I did mention three apps (bet you thought I pulled a fast one on you), but that’s because Metrogram and Instacam worked together to give users a complete Instagram experience. Metrogram allowed you to view yours and other people’s profile, like and comment on photos. But when it came to uploading a photo, it would send you to the Instagraph app. All Instagraph did was let you take photos, edit and filter them, then upload them to Instagram. Once you were done, you could easily head back to Metrogram to view your new photo. It was an interesting relationship, and if you had both apps installed on your phone, you could upload and view photos without really feeling like you were using two apps.
The other Instagram client that worked was Instance. Instance allowed you to view, upload, like and comment on photos all in the same app. But its selection of filters and photo editing options were rather slim.
In the end, I decided to keep all two—err—three apps while I waited for the official Instagram app to arrive on Windows Phone. Which got me thinking, all these Instagram alternatives are going to be dumped rather quickly once it does. Sad huh?