Two years after Hipstamatic and Instagram took the mobile photography world by storm, Flickr is hoping to grab the spotlight with the release of a completely re-engineered iPhone app that puts mobile photography front and centre.
"[In the past] our typical users had digital SLR cameras or compact cameras and sat at home with their memory stick and computers uploading their pictures to Flickr," says Jennifer Davies, Flickr's head of product marketing in Europe, at a press briefing in London. "That's how Flickr started. Over the last few years, we've seen an absolutely phenomenal change of how people take pictures and how they are sharing these pictures with the adoption of smartphones."
She adds: "It changes completely the way users can take pictures, especially since the cameras in these phones are getting better and better. That means that everyone with a smartphone can be a photographer - whether they're taking pictures of their dogs or are into more serious photography."
Flickr first released a dedicated iPhone app in 2009, but it lacked key features and was extremely slow - allowing other photo-sharing start-ups such as Instagram to grab the lion-share of the mobile photography market. In November, for example, Instagram boasted 100m users while Flickr has just 80m.
"What we want to do today [with this new app] is transport all the rich functionalities we have within Flickr.com and recreate them in the app," says Davies. "[We want] to give users the option of using whatever functionality they would like to use directly from the app. Our goal is to put photography at [its] centre."
Flickr users can access their account, photostreams and groups, as well as batch upload their images directly from their iPhones. Flickr is also going after Instagram with the addition of a wide array of photo-editing options - from white balance correction to red-eye removal - as well as 16 filters.
The filters, named after different animals - from Orca to Panda, Mammoth and Orangutan, among many others - have been designed by Flickr in association with Aviary, which also powers Twitter's photo filters introduced yesterday.
Twitter's entry in the photo filter market comes as the San Francisco-based social network is going head to head with Instagram - both firms have stopped collaborating in recent weeks, with Instagram users unable to find their Twitter friends within the photo-sharing app, and Twitter users unable to see Instagram images in their news feeds.
And while Yahoo! says that the timing for today's relaunch is pure coincidence, BJP understands that the company hopes to capitalise on the growing rivalry between Instagram and Twitter, as pictures taken on the new Flickr app can automatically be shared on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.
The redesigned app is available now on the iPhone, with an Android version coming in the new year. "Mobile is now absolutely essential to Yahoo! and [being] on multiple devices is really what it's all about," says Davies. "I think people will be excited to see what's coming in 2013."
For more details, and to download the app, visit the Flickr website.
Flickr users have access to their entire news feed and photo stream, and can comment on their friends' and contacts' images directly from the app.
Flickr is now offering 16 different filters that can be applied to newly-taken images as well as images residing in their iPhone's Camera Roll.
Flickr's Explore feature has also been ported to the app.
A user's activity feed is also available in the app.
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