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At last – Pinterest launches Android, iPad apps

These are busy days for staff at Pinterest. On Tuesday the fast-growing social networking site launched free apps for Android devices, as well as for the iPad. A Pinterest iPhone app already exists, though an updated version of that was also released Tuesday.

The introduction of the new apps comes a week after the site began allowing anyone to join, ditching its invitation-only model which the site had been running with since it first came on the scene in March 2010.

News of the Android and iPad apps was announced in a post on Pinterest’s official blog. The Palo Alto-based company said it had finally responded to “very vocal” Android users who for some time had been requesting the introduction of a Pinterest app for their smartphones and tablets.

“We were listening, and our custom-designed Android app makes it simple and fast to pin, so that the time you spend on Pinterest is as productive as possible,” the company wrote in the post.

For iPad owners, “the app offers users new ways to engage with pins, whether swiping the screen to resume browsing after viewing a board, or using the embedded browser to see what others are pinning from their favorite sites.”

The updated iPhone app brings in a number of new features, including a two-column look that enables users to see more information on the screen.

The service, which lets users easily share items of interest discovered on the Web by ‘pinning’ images to a board, has grown its user base remarkably since launching just over two years ago. With around 23 million members, Pinterest is now the third most popular social networking site, with only Twitter and Facebook ahead of it. Now that Pinterest has ended its invitation-only system, and introduced new apps, its user base could well explode.

Like many in its field, however, it is yet to find a way to turn a profit. Still, financing has been forthcoming – in May, the start-up received $100 million in funding from Rakuten, a huge e-commerce company based in Japan.

The new Pinterest app for Android is available for download from the Google Play store here while iPad and iPhone owners can pick it up from the iOS store here. Kindle Fire owners who want to give the new app a try will have the chance to download it from the Amazon Appstore for Android later this week.

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