The news that Facebook bought Instagram for a whopping $1 billion certainly provoked a strong reaction—and it's not so much surprise as displeasure that's echoing throughout Twitter and the blogosphere. After all, Instagram is the grassroots David—with just 13 employees—to Facebook's Goliath (with 2,000+ people on its payroll).
In addition to privacy concerns, some users of the ultra-popular photo app have voiced fears that their beloved Instagram will become a completely different app under Zuckerberg et. al. If you're part of this crowd, you may be in search of another app for all your photo-sharing needs. Luckily, there are plenty of Instagram alternatives to choose from, including some near-identical apps and a number of unique ones as well.
Hipstamatic is Instagram's more complicated, more expensive older brother. The app offers the same vintage-style effects and social network tie-ins for Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Tumblr (and even Instagram!), but it costs $1.99 and is only available for the iPhone. However, Hipstamatic does offer you more in-depth customization features and add-ons ("Hipstapaks") that include different film, lens, gel and filter options.
Anyone who's used Instagram will have no trouble navigating deja.mi's interface. This free app includes 11 photo filters and sharing via Facebook and Twitter. deja.mi also adds location to the photo-sharing equation, letting you view real-time uploads in a specific city. For each venue with associated photos, the app awards a medal for the best photo taken.
In addition to providing 18 photo filters, Via.me lets you upload video and audio to share with friends on Facebook or Twitter. Like other photo apps in this roundup, it also shows you what photos are popular in your area.
picplz (iOS, Android)
picplz offers the obligatory selection of vintage filters, but it also throws in extensive editing tools such as Crop, Contrast, Draw and Rotate. We especially like the Meme tool, which lets you add text to your photo in that legendary font of LOLCats fame. The best part: You get all this for free.
Most high-end photo apps come to iOS first, so it's nice to see Android photo fans getting some love with Vignette. This iPhone-unfriendly app costs $3.99, but you get a whopping 76 photo effects and 57 frames for your money.
HTC Photo Enhancer (Windows Phone)
For the Windows Phone fans in the house, there's an option just for you. HTC's Photo Enhancer app is less feature-heavy than competitors, but it includes enough fun filters to make you feel like you're not missing out on all the Instagram fun.