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iPhone snobbery greets Instagram's Android app

Doug Gross, CNN
Photo-sharing app Instagram is now available for Android phones. Some iPhone users aren't happy about this development.
Photo-sharing app Instagram is now available for Android phones. Some iPhone users aren't happy about this development.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Instagram launches on Android, prompting snide comments from some iPhone owners
  • Twitter lit up with "there goes the neighborhood"-style tweets
  • Instagram is an app that lets users enhance their photos with various filters
  • It had been available only for Apple devices for about 18 months

(CNN) -- Seriously, iPhone fans?

Just hours after Instagram, a mobile app that lets users layer pre-programmed filters over their photos to achieve maximum hipness, launched on Google's Android operating system Tuesday, the snark began.

Until then, the 18-month-old app had been exclusive to Apple devices.

"Instagram went from a gated community to section 8 all in 1 day," wrote Twitter user @joelby1328.

That widely shared message (surrounded by other gems such as "I'm smoking with a (expletive) newbie! She still has other people light her bowl for her!!!") was as good a representative as any of a surprising number of tweets suggesting, or downright saying, that Android phone users are in some way inferior to iPhone owners.

More than 1 million Android users downloaded the app in the first 24 hours, and it became the talk of the town online. According to one analysis, there were 719,874 Twitter mentions of Instagram and Android within the first 24 hours of the app's release.

Many of them weren't exactly complimentary.

"With Instagram for Android I can upload photos of abandoned beers on the backs of bar toilets RIGHT from my mobile phone!" said a user whose screen name won't be repeated here.

In fairness, even thousands of comments only represent a tiny portion of the folks who own iPhones, iPads or iPods with Web capabilities. But they highlight one of the Internet's most enduring (and some would say annoying) geek fights.

Conflict-minded Apple fans argue that Android phones are less slick and uglier, and that they junk up the system with low-quality apps generated in its open developer community. Android diehards counter that many Apple fans will blindly buy up anything the company produces and that the closed iOS system stifles creativity.

"And that's the most remarkable takeaway of this phenomenon, I think: that which smartphone we own has begun to inform our identities," wrote CNET's Emily Dreyfuss. "In our gadget-filled lives, our phones have become another way for us to organize ourselves into separate groups, to label each other as 'other' and 'apart.' Our tech has come to define us."

While there's definitely a "first world problem" aspect of squabbling about smartphones, as Android continues to grow in market share, there may in fact be a class-war element at work here.

Apple offers one iPhone, with a price tag that ranges up to $399 and, in many cases, with an expensive monthly data plan to go with it.

Android, meanwhile, is available on a wide range of phones. While there are certainly some high-end models, such as the new phone-tablet hybrid Samsung Galaxy Note, Android also runs on cheaper, less-advanced phones and on discount carriers instead of the handful of Apple-approved networks that the iPhone can access.

"So while there is often a tinge of irony or the hahahaha-colored patina of UGH in the proclamations of iPhone users disgusted by the idea of the Android barbarians at the gate," wrote Matt Buchanan at BuzzFeed, "under the surface is a more general tension between a population that tends to be more affluent and often manifests that affluence as a form of taste ... and one of the masses, a population filled with some segments that, generally speaking, have less of a voice in culture already, particularly in technology."

Here's hoping that the app snobbery soon fades. One sign of hope? Maybe Apple and Android fans can band together in the face of a common enemy.

Wrote Twitter user @KidCheeno: "Android and iPhone on Instagram while BlackBerry just sits in the corner and cries."

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