Facebook has kept itself rather busy in the last month or so with such tasks as going public and purchasing popular photo-sharing app Instagram, but that doesn’t mean it stopped working on other projects in the meantime. This realization is apparent with the launch of Facebook Camera, a photo-centric application that chooses to remain separated from the company’s general mobile representation. It’s still connected with the social network, of course, but it brings a fresh user interface and some light Photoshop-esque features to the table: filters, cropping, zoom, twist and so on.
First, let’s discuss what Facebook Camera is not: it’s not the first fruits of Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to purchase Instagram for $1 billion, since the acquisition is still under review by the FTC and likely won’t be made final for another six to twelve months. There are a lot of intriguing similarities, but everything in this final product was already well in motion prior to the buyout. This app could, however, provide the newly merged company with a good canvas on which to base future Instragram-like features.
It’s also not necessarily new or groundbreaking. There is no shortage of image enhancement apps on iOS, and the unique twist this particular version brings is its natural tie-in with the social network. This also isn’t the first time Facebook has attempted to create a spotlight on the photo-sharing aspect of the smartphone experience, as seen in version 1.9 of its Android app. The main difference there, however, was that the camera was only a direct shortcut transplanted onto the home panel, and it lacked any of the filters or other features the new iOS iteration boasts.
As a quick note, the app is compatible with the iPhone 3GS and newer, the fourth-gen iPod touch, iPad 2 (WiFi and 3G versions) and new iPad (WiFi and LTE versions). iPad users, if you’re hoping for a cool new user interface that takes advantage of the larger display, prepare to be disappointed — it just subscribes to the “one app fits all” mentality by using the default iPhone / iPod touch version.