It’s taken a lot longer than Nokia hoped it would but Windows Phone is finally getting an official Instagram client. The photo-sharing social network, which has north of 150 million monthly active users, has been on iOS some three years, and on Android since April 2012. Now it’s coming to Windows Phone within “weeks”, according to Nokia.
The news was confirmed by Windows Phone’s foremost OEM at its own conference, Nokia World, taking place in Abu Dhabi today. Nokia’s devices division is of course also in the process of being acquired by Microsoft.
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According to the Verge, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom has also confirmed the app is on the way. “Our ultimate goal is to bring Instagram to everyone who wants to use it,” he said. “We’re looking forward to watching the Windows Phone community use Instagram to capture and share beautiful moments in the coming weeks.”
Neither Systrom nor Nokia provided further details about exactly what features the Windows Phone Instagram app will include.
The arrival of Instagram fills the biggest app gap in Windows Phone, and symbolically at least cements its position as the third choice mobile platform — for app developers to address (and consumers to adopt). Windows Phone remains a very far distant third in the smartphone OS rankings, however. Analyst IDC pegged its global smartphone OS share at just 3.7% in the second quarter of this year, vs 13.2% for iOS and 79.3% for Android.
Establishing a third ecosystem was the original stated intention of Nokia and Microsoft when they kicked off their Windows Phone partnership back in February 2011. The price of throwing its lot in with Microsoft has been a high one for Nokia, which has been forced to divest itself of its loss-making mobile phone making division and sell it to Microsoft. That acquisition is due to close at the start of next year, pending all the necessary approvals.
In recent times Nokia has tried its best to fill the Instagram-sized hole in the Windows Phone platform — with alternatives like Oggl from Hipstamatic. Asked about the continued lack of Instagram back in May, Nokia’s Jo Harlow told TechCrunch: “Obviously our goal is to brings great apps to the Windows Phone platform. We have a huge amount of respect for Instagram and we continue to work in that direction and in particular with Microsoft, and with apps like Hipstamatic and the ability to share your pictures on Instagram.”
The lack of Instagram has been a particular pain for Nokia as camera hardware has been one of the focuses of its Lumia devices — most recently with the launch of the 41MP-packing Lumia 1020. Tellingly that’s also the device Nokia has chosen to picture in the above tweet. Expect the company to make much marketing hay out of the combination of Instagram and its 41MP cameraphone. At least until it hands the reins over to Microsoft.