Camera360, which now claims more than 250 million users, is one of the world’s most successful photo apps. But Camera360 still faces plenty of competition from other apps like Camera+ and Afterlight and has been looking at ways to differentiate.
Its latest version, which is now available for both iOS and Android users, combines a streamlined flat design with new features that help users save data, an important point as Camera360 targets growth in emerging markets.
In previous versions of Camera360, its eight camera modes and more than 100 effects, including filters and frames, were pre-installed. For casual users, sifting through all these features was time-consuming and confusing.
So the app’s developers decided to reduce the number of pre-installed features on the app and move the rest to Camera360′s in-app Camera or Effects store, where they can be downloaded for free. By turning cameras and features into plug-ins, the team has made Camera360 customizable and faster loading. The startup will also keep pushing out new options to the store, including several paid features as part of its monetization plan.
Camera360′s update also lets you make an account in the app’s Cloud Service to store photos, including ones that you haven’t finished editing.
As a big fan of photo apps, I don’t mind using several on a single snapshot. I might take a photo on Camera+, add filters and overlays in Afterglow or VSCOcam, put it in collage using Diptic or Fuzel, or play with Faded‘s blended effects. Camera360, on the other hand, is designed to be an efficient and powerful one-stop shop for people who aren’t as addicted to photo apps as I am.
The latest version of Camera360 comes pre-loaded with its four most popular camera modes. “EasyCam” automatically detects the type of photo you are taking (a flower closeup or night scene, for example) and adjusts camera settings. “Effects” lets you chose from several filters and preview them while composing a shot. “Selfie” is a quick alternative to Camera360′s Pink360, with filters that are supposed to flatter skin tones (hint: “Light” is best for subtly smoothing out blemishes and shadows, while “Glossy” is the filter for you if you want your selfie to possess an unearthly, ethereal glow).
Of the optional camera plug-ins, I think the most useful are “MultiGrid” for making collages and “LowLight,” which works very well for shooting on cloudy days or indoors without a flash.
Based in the Chinese tech hub of Chengdu, most of Camera360′s users are based in its home country, but it wants to accelerate growth in the rest of the world. With its attractive redesign (which allows for unobtrusive banner ads), in-app stores, and cloud service, Camera360′s newest version is an excellent start on its international strategy.