Mobile App Shake-up Likely
You may well have heard that Nik software has been bought out by Google. Nik were mainly known for producing top end editing tools which many professional photographers used in conjunction with Lightroom and Photoshop. They also produced a mobile editing app for Apple products called Snapseed which was considered a top end mobile editing app. Snapseed sold for $5 making it just about the most expensive still image editor for mobiles.
Right, got all that? Now onto the interesting bit. Google have done two very interesting things. They have produces a version of the app that works on Nexus/Android smartphones and reduced the price to zero. They also upgraded the software but that just made an excellent app even better – it is the first two changes that are really interesting.
Smartphone image editors usually sell for $.0.99, $1.99 or are free. By making Snapseed free they have dealt a massive hit to all those operating in the photo editing app market. The freebies will not be able to compete against the resources and deep expertise that Google/Nik possess and those developers who are currently charging will lose on both price and quality.
Looking into my crystal ball (which is about as reliable as Windows Vista Home Edition) a lot of developers will move on and I expect to see a lot of products become unsupported The ones that survive will have to offer something radically different from the usual functions. The four that will make it through are obviously Snapseed itself, Instagram because of their social networking strength, Adobes editor due to name recognition and Hipstamatic because it is simply so different and so good at what it does.
The Image at the top was edited using the desktop version of Snapseed which costs the princely sum of $20, is to all intents and purposes the same as the mobile version, and represents amazing value. My current workflow for non-mobile photography is Lightroom 4.2 with Snapseed as the external editor. There is some really bad cloning in the image which is completely down to my carelessness and not the software used.