Snapseed photo editing app finally arrives on Android, and it’s free


posted Monday, December 10, 2012 at 8:03 PM EDT

Photo editing on Android smartphones and tablets just got a lot more intuitive, thanks to the release of a new app that had until now been an iOS exclusive. For Android users, Nik Software's Snapseed has been a long time coming, but its arrival is accompanied by some great news: it's now free.

Nik first shipped the app for Apple's popular iPad tablets back in June 2011, where it immediately proved popular thanks to an intuitive touch screen user interface that made light work of local and global adjustments. An update two months later expanded compatibility to iPhone and iPod Touch devices. Nik revealed development of an Android variant at the start of the year, but Snapseed's future as a standalone app was called into question with the company's acquisition by Google last fall. Vic Gundotra, Senior VP of Engineering at Nik's new owner, quickly reassured users that Snapseed was here to stay.

Long popular for the iPad and iPhone, Nik's Snapseed app is finally available on Android devices.

With Nik now under Google control, we'd imagine that development of a robust Android version quickly became a top priority. Snapseed for Android debuts with wide support for all Android devices running version 4.0 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) or later. That includes most Android tablets to date, and a significant portion of recent Android smartphones as well. Looking at the overall Android ecosystem, over a third of all Android devices that accessed the Play store in the last two weeks are compatible with Snapseed, according to Google. While Gingerbread devices -- which aren't compatible with the Snapseed app -- do still dominate in terms of market share, that share is continuing to decline. Realistically, if you have an Android device with a camera and processor that are up to the task of capturing and editing photos, there's a very good chance your device meets the bar to entry.

Making a selective adjustment in Snapseed on an Android tablet.

The decision to make Snapseed free -- and to do so without adding advertising to the app -- will doubtless prove very popular with Android users. Those using iOS devices who'd previously baulked at the US$5 purchase price, and who'd missed the occasional limited-time freebies in the iTunes store, will also find that the app is now offered without charge on Apple's mobile OS. The version for Microsoft's Windows desktop operating system is now the only Snapseed variant which is not available free of charge.

The Grunge filter in Snapseed for Android.

Snapseed for Android brings one new feature to the app, which is also available through an update to the iOS release. It's significance, however, will depend on your tastes for social networking services. You can now share images to Google+, the search giant's rival to the dominant Facebook service from Snapseed on either iOS or Android devices. In other respects, Snapseed for Android is largely similar to the previous iOS releases.

One of two new features in Snapseed for iOS is the Retrolux filter.

Interestingly, the new iOS release brings two additional features that aren't yet available to Android users, perhaps to some degree mollifying owners of Apple's devices who've paid for an app that's now free. These include a new Retrolux filter that adds vintage film styles, light leaks and various scratch/texture effects, plus the ability to choose more frame types and adjust the frame color.

iOS users also get more frame types than do their Android cousins.

For more details and to get the free downloads, visit Google Play if you're an Android user, or the iTunes app store if you're an iOS user.