Instagram, the photo app beloved by hipsters and cameraphone enthusiasts everywhere, announced Monday that it had hit 27 million users, just nine months after announcing that the app had hit 5 million users in June.
And the company is poised to have even more users soon, as it prepares to push out its app for Android. At the event where the user-number was announced, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom revealed that the Android app is almost ready in a conversation with TechCrunch’s Alexis Tsotsis. “In some ways, it’s better than our iOS app,” Systrom told the crowd.
Instagram was a South by Southwest darling in 2011, when it came in with 2 million users and a new app just in time for the technology conference. That app added a news feed and other features that led it to become Apple’s top app of the year for 2011.
In his comments, Systrom said that being named the top app, combined with the launch of the iPhone 4S, led to a significant spike in users.
South by Southwest — SXSW to its friends — has proven to be a good launching ground for some tech start-ups, though not for all. Foursquare and Twitter both owe some thanks to SXSW for launching their growth, though the group messaging apps that were supposed to take off last year have yet to become household names. Gowalla, a Foursquare competitor introduced at the same SXSW, announced Monday that it will be closing, after being acquired by Facebook in December.
Gowalla users will be able to download their data from its homepage “soon,” according to a message on the developer’s homepage.