In Dumbest Possible Launch, Instagram’s Windows Phone App Leaves Out (Or Hides, Actually) The Photo Taking

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Update: So you technically *can* take photos with the Instagram app, but not from within it, and not in a way that makes a lot of logical sense. See Alex’s post for more on the confusion and the mistakes made on all sides, including mine.

Okay Windows Phone and Instagram, what the hell? How is it possible that you’ve *finally* launched an official Instagram client for Windows Phone, but left out photo taking (as mentioned above, photo taking is there but it’s hidden and actually routes you out of the app)? Oh what’s that? You can import photos from your library or native camera app you say. No big deal, right? Right. Unless your goal was not to make Windows Phone look like an app laggard. Which apparently it was, according to MS Windows Phone lead Joe Belfiore:

Wow, indeed you truly have eliminated the app gap – except for that massive, huge feature gap that still remains. It’s true that technically, the Instagram client for Windows Phone is a client, that provides access to Instagram. But requiring users to take the photo externally and then upload from within is like offering up a canoe and then saying the paddle’s included, but it’s ‘conveniently’ mounted to the bottom for ‘easy’ access when you’re in the water. Or like a BlackBerry tablet without email:

That might not seem like such a big deal: after all, there are other apps that allow you to put filters on photos you already have in your library, and no one thinks that’s crazy. But it is, it is crazy. Even if you profess to never want to use the built-in photo taking mechanism on other platforms, and instead opt to use your library pics, it’s crazy. Instagram is built around the concept of taking and sharing photos, not being a glorified image processor.

The worst part is that there’s really no excuse for this: the Windows Phone and Instagram official line is that some features were left out in the interest of expediency, but leaving out some features and taking away the very soul of what makes Instagram Instagram is totally crazy pants, and inexcusable. A startup rushing out an MVP is one thing – a huge company crippling hobbling a flagship product is another.

If anything, the app gap looms larger than ever because of this. Releasing an app that isn’t really an app doesn’t make up for a perceived inequality between Windows Phone and Android – it throws it into sharp relief. Already, my Twitter feed is filled with jokes about Windows Phone apps that cripple or reverse functionality and features, like this one:

Well done, Windows Phone team: You’ve just made your platform the Yakov Smirnoff of the mobile world.