Five of the coolest apps to play with Instagram

If you can't stop using your iPhone 4's awesome camera it is likely that you are addicted to Instagram. The popular photo sharing app started as a hip way to edit and add filter to your mobile pics and has expanded to a photo sharing service like no other. I must admit I'm not yet that into it, but since the platform went open, a lot of services (and I mean it) have appeared to make the most of your Instagram pictures. It's not a surprise that with all the creativity going on, Instagram succeeds where Path and Color are failing.

Polaroid apps on the iPhone? New age fun with a vintage feel

Browsing and organising made easier

 

Since navigating the official iPhone app is not great, some nice developers have put some effort mixing Instagram's API with something that is actually usable. For iPad owners, the app of choice is Instagallery [iTunes Link], which allows you to put some order in your stream and kill the time watching others.

Search using location and tags is dead easy and making slideshows could potentially be more interesting that Apple's default option. This app also runs on iPhones and iPod Touches, but you get a better chill-out coffee table experience on the big screen.

If you already own Momento [iTunes Link], you need to look no further. The personal journaling app now is capable of tracking your Instagram timeline and display your snaps as part of your diary.

Let's remember that the app is a representative of iOS aesthetics at their best, so using Momento exclusively for this won't disappoint you. Ideally, you would be using this on your iPhone on the go (no iPad support yet) and tracking only your own pictures. While this limits the way you integrate with the rest of Instagram's features, it blends very well with the original purpose of Momento: Track your online footprint across social networks.

A more decorative alternative is GramFrame [iTunes Link], the equivalent of dropping a bunch of polaroids on the floor. The app will select pictures from your account and display them as some kind of iPad screensaver. Sure, this doesn't provide much interactivity and could be less featured of the list, but hey, it looks cool.

If you decide that your Instagram hobby is not a reason enough to purchase a dedicated app, you can always set up Flipboard [iTunes Link] to pull your feed. This fantastic app to keep up with the news and your social networks added Instagram support in its latest update. Now you can search, like and share your stream in the same app.  

In the pipeline 

 

With over two million users snapping, editing and sharing moments of their life with Instagram, stablished developers have found enough motivation to adapt existing apps to the service. The beautifully designed Friends+ [iTunes Link] has also announced that it will soon be able to read the service's API. Considering how well the app presents Facebook pictures, I have made an early gamble and purchased it (on sale at the moment of this writing), waiting for this exciting upcoming update. 

 

Web-based alternatives

Using a web based alternative such as Inkstagram and Instagreat are reasonable options, but they won't be as smooth as a native app and don't even have a home screen icon for iOS devices. They do the job, though!

EXTRA: From stickers to tiles, feeding your creative ego

If you have already found your perfect app to play with Instagram, there are a lot of projects to take your digital pictures to a physical format. In fact, there are many firms already offering the option to print your pics such as Social Print Studio's Printstagram. The novelty comes at a price, but I'm really digging those posters designs. You can find more printing services at 4muladesign.com, including custom tiles!

What about showcasing your best Instagrams at home or at work? Etsy user giraffalo is selling custom wooden photo blocks with your own photographs. These cubes could make a lovely pair bookends for my studio.

Glyn Evans from iPhoneography highlights a more traditional option consisting of sustainable bamboo frames designed by Hatchcraft. The frames come in two sizes and thee different bamboo shades.