Vine for Android Covers the Basics–and Makes News

A features update to Vine for Android couldn’t have been better timed to get buzz. The update was announced just as the tech media ‘verse was a-Twitter–so to speak–over the video-sharing service.

Vine, as it happens, is owned by Twitter, while photo-sharing service Instagram is owned by Facebook. And the Vine update for Android came just a day after word that Instagram was launching its own video-sharing capability. Nothing gets attention like a battle of giants.

Vine’s Android update has no connection to Instagram, but it does play into another battle of giants: Google’s Android versus Apple’s iOS. Vine does not intend to play favorites, and the Android update shows that it plans to support video sharing across both leading mobile operating systems.

Enhanced Basic Functionality …

As Jennifer Van Grove reports at CNET, the update gives Vine for Android pretty much the same basic tool set that the iPhone (iOS) version has. Android users of Vine can now mention one another in posts, search, and use hashtags. One thing they can’t do is take “selfies”–videos of themselves–since the software does not yet support the front-facing camera.

Nor does Vine for Android (yet) have the “splashy new features” and new design that Vine recently showcased. But considering that Vine only launched the Android version of its service at the beginning of June, the catch-up has been fast and underlines Vine’s commitment to the Android platform.

The original Android version lacked the supporting functions available to iPhone users, though it did have what the CNET piece describes as a “nifty zoom feature.” The release notes for Vine for Android 1.1 also mention some improvements to the user interface, along with faster video capture and improved video quality.

… And Perfect Timing

Above all, though, Vine for Android had fortuitously good timing. Word of the update came the day after Facebook-owned Instagram announced that it was launching a video-sharing capability clearly intended to compete with Twitter-owned Vine.

One unavoidable side effect of the Instagram announcement was to bring Vine to the attention of a lot of people who might not have heard of it before. And if they are Android users, they only had to wait a day to download the updated, full-featured version.

In the big picture, the Vine for Android update makes two points. One is that app developers still tend to launch iPhone versions first. They do so because, so far, iPhone users are reported to be more intensively engaged with their devices. But those same developers are also supporting Android. And as high-end Android phones become more prominent, support for Android will only become stronger and more widespread.