Dropico sample image, Grunge filter. Click for full size.


Since its introduction in early October of 2010, social photo app Instagram has become a huge success, capturing over a million users its first six weeks alone and becoming the social photo sharing app to top. Over the weekend, a new social photo app Dropico was released and it takes aim at Instagram.

While it has some very nice features compared to Instagram, the initial release for iPhone, version 1.8.5, has a few problems that need to be fixed if Dropico is to try and topple the king.


Dropico is a photo sharing app that lets you shoot, edit and share photos easily straight from your iPhone, simultaneously posting them over multiple social networks. It has 26 one-click filters to let you quickly and easily add effects — about twice as many as Instagram — and there are more promised. Many of the obscurely-named effects are good and usable. Many of them are just colored overlays, and some of them are pretty bad. Some of the filters have frames. If found Hot Flash, On Film, Neon, Retro, Grunge, and Reel to be my favorites and there are several other nice filters as well.

Out of the box, there are both iPhone and Droid versions of the app — in theory, giving the app a much larger user base to discover the app. Your Droid-using friends can only have Instagram envy at the moment — a droid version of IG is still in the works.

Dropico lets you share your images easily and instantly with 11 photo sharing services, several more than Instagram. You can also upload your images to an online Dropico account (the little green mOBI phone icon on the share screen. The app promises “ultra-fast upload of multiple high resolution photos”, but I was only able to upload 700×700 pixel images and the image size button was always grayed out for me, even after a reboot. That’s not much better than Instagram’s 612×612 px resolution.

With your Dropico account, you get an online space to manage your photos and edit them using Pixlr online editing services. It’s pretty cool when it works. For instance, I was also able to access and edit all of my Facebook albums and images. It’s impressive integration.

While working in a web interface is fun, I’m often away from my computer. The purpose of a photo social sharing app is to be able to do everything you need from it on the device it was created on. That’s part of the greatness of the simplicity of Instagram — shoot, process, share. Dropico is more shoot, process, share, go online somewhere, save to computer or email, edit, share again. It’s a process I find cumbersome.

Unfortunately, Dropico does not save processed images to your iPhone — something that is essential for a photo app. It only saves native, full sized, original, unprocessed images that were shot within the app. I wasn’t even able to email it to myself directly.

There is also no dedicated Dropico social network, and that’s one of the features that I love most about Instagram. There’s no easy, built-in options in Dropico itself to connect two-ways with friends, family, strangers and other photographers. The social network of Instagram — as primitive as it is — the ability to connect and follow easily is one of the main reasons of the apps success. Without this network, Dropico appears to be little more than well-equipped, low-res image distribution app. It would be really, really cool if there was one device-based social network for both platforms. There is some impressive Droidography being created that often goes overlooked because of the disconnect between the two operating systems.

Basically, Dropico shares your photos with everyone except yourself. It doesn’t easily allow you to browse and discover new photography like Instagram, but the app has some cool filters and features and has good cross-platform potential. Until Instagram release an Android app, this might currently be the best option for Droidographers for photo social sharing. Despite its flaws and fewer photo sharing choices, I’m sticking with Instagram on my iPhone for now.

Dropico is free and works on any iDevice running iOS 4.1 or newer. There’s also an Android version available.

Dropico - Dropico