After an extended beta test period, VSCO Cam for Android is now available to download from the Google Play Store. VSCO Cam is one of the most popular photography apps for iOS, as it combines a simple-to-use interface with powerful filters and photo editing tools. The app is free and available for most devices with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or higher.
Developing for Android wasn't without its challenges, but VSCO co-founders Joel Flory and Greg Lutze tell The Verge that it was a necessary step in the progress of the app. "We knew it was something we wanted to do, a lot of people have been asking for it, and we viewed it as a challenge," notes Lutze. Despite having a relatively small team of developers, VSCO was able to replicate all of the photo-processing features of the iOS app on Android, so users won't miss out on the countless filters and presets that have made VSCO Cam so appealing.
The Android version includes all of the same editing tools as the iOS version
"The number one goal was to build [for Android] with the same level of excellence in the editing capabilities," says Lutze. Since VSCO Cam's sparse user interface doesn't adhere to conventional iOS paradigms, it doesn't look completely out of place on Android as other ported apps. The filter tools (known as "presets" within the app) are applied the exact same way on Android as on iOS, and the extensive editing tools have the same level of depth on either platform.
But there are a couple of things missing from the app depending on which Android device it's installed on. For instance, the vast majority of Android devices do not support spot metering, so VSCO was required to disable the two-finger split focus and metering tool in the camera section of the app. Still, the interface and picture-taking experience is as fast and responsive on Android as it is on iOS, which is no small feat.
"A great image is a great image ... it comes down to what is that image and who created that image."
As with the iOS version, the Android app lets users quickly share their VSCO Cam images to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, email, Google+, or any app that accepts images through Android's standard sharing service. The app also lets users upload images to their Grid, the lone social component of VSCO Cam. The Grid is akin to an ultra-lightweight Tumblr that only supports still images with a basic text description. It is currently viewable on the web, but VSCO plans to bring it to the mobile apps in the near future. Users can follow VSCO Grids to see what other users are sharing, but there is no liking system or commenting. VSCO actually has staff members curate the best images uploaded to the service into a main grid for anyone to see in an effort to highlight the images of users who might not have a lot of followers.
When asked how Grid compares to other photo-sharing services, such as Instagram, Lutze says, "We approach it as a physical gallery, but online." Flory added, "We’re not setting out to create a platform for comments, it’s about displaying images."
VSCO Cam for Android is a free download and includes 10 presets and a handful of editing tools. Users can purchase more presets and editing tools within the app, with dozens of options available. While there may be many different photo apps available on Android (and iOS, for that matter), few combine simple design with powerful editing features as well as VSCO Cam, making it an easy choice for the Android photographer.