Android has always been second to the races when it comes to triple-A applications and games like Instagram, Path or even Temple Run. These applications are usually developed by companies that choose to publish on iOS first and Android second, if ever at all. In the case of Path, the company waited for the revamp of their application to simultaneously launch version 2.0 on both Android and iOS. This worked out great for Path, showing a huge increase in users after launching on Android. Users on Android are rabid application hounds, as shown by the ever-increasing Play Store statistics for downloads and applications per user. With Path, Android didn’t have an “alternative social networking” application as gorgeous and as fluid as Path. With 2.0, Path showed the rest of the world that not only was developing for Android simple enough, you could also gain huge exposure and user counts by supporting the largest smartphone platform in the US.
Then came along Temple Run, which dealt with different device issues and support at launch, but is updating the game in what seems like a weekly fashion, adding new device support along the way. The game itself is a huge hit on Android, boasting over 1 million downloads (at least) in the Play Store so far, merely over a week since launch. Before Imangi Studios announced that Temple Run was on the way for Android, tons of unofficial applications littered the Play Store, with some folks going so far as to posting applications named Temple Run that were really just malware titles. Now that the game has launched, other iOS developers are realizing that if one of the most successful iOS games of all-time can be on Android, why can’t others? The old argument of “fragmentation” is quickly becoming just an excuse.
With today’s launch of Instagram, the stakes have never been higher. With over 30 million users in just 17 months, Instagram is a huge hit. No, it’s not the filters that makes the app so attractive to new users, it’s the exclusive social network that lives entirely on-device. Previously, Instagram was iOS-exclusive, but today’s launch enables any Android handset owner to sign up for Instagram and instantly reap the benefits of being a part of their bolstering 30 million-strong community. Before today, you couldn’t even sign up on their website – which is extremely bare bones, but for a reason – for an account, you had to have an iOS device or use your friend or family members’. With over 300 million Android devices, the potential for Instagram has never been bigger. With a solid app taking a few design cues (but not enough, some are arguing) from Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich standards, Instagram is the application to have on Android. If anything, the social network that is tied in is a blast to be a part of – even if you’re sick of Facebook and other intrusive social networks, like many of us are.
So, the question is then: has Android finally wooed the hearts of developers of the top iOS applications? Angry Birds is on Android, and even struck an exclusive deal with Samsung for their latest game, Angry Birds Space. Will we be seeing other triple-A titles make their way to Android, with a lot less waiting? I think so. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find a title that is overwhelmingly popular that doesn’t have an Android port or similar app. Instagram is just the start of a paradigm shift for Android, and is extremely important to the ecosystem in general. Having a hard time believing that? Checking Google+ shows all the big Android boys – Hugo Barra, Romain Guy, etc – promoting and getting excited for the launch of Instagram.
As Dustin wrote extensively about yesterday, Android has a huge year ahead of it for 2012. With ICS rolling out to more devices as we speak, it’s only natural that these triple-A titles come not far after. Strap in folks, it’s going to be a great year to be an Android user.