Cinemagram brings animated GIFS to the iPhone and makes us wonder what’s going on over at Instagram

cinemagramA new app called Cinemagram launched today, and it’s getting a lot of attention for bringing animated GIFs to the masses. It’s become a popular art form across Tumblr and fashion-focused social networks, and until recently came with a fairly complicated process. You’d need editing software access and know-how, as well as a good deal of patience. Of course there are generators out there but those clearly don’t produce the results you get from doing it yourself.

But photography is going to the masses, and now this includes animated GIFs (which technically are cinemagraphs — they are published as animated GIF files, but for all intents and purposes you can still call them animated GIFs). Cinemagram is available for $1.99 for iOS and makes the creation process altogether very simple, plus it throws in a few filters to boot. It’s not the only option out there either: Kinotopic is fairly similar, and there are trade-offs between the two. Cinemagram has filters but not as many options for simplifying the “map drawing” process. Kinotopic also has the ability to pull from your current video library, whereas Cinemagram does not.

Of course, the quality isn’t that of those made with photo editors, not to mention better cameras. But it’s obvious that the digital imaging evolution is lending itself toward speed, convenience, and the lowest common denominator. This isn’t to say that advanced, professional cameras and photographers with the requisite skill levels will go the way of the analog camera – if just means that there’s a wider audience who wants in and applications like Cinemagram are making that possible by continuing to open up access to more effects and features.

And it’s a good week for users that are a fan of this trend. Viddy, a filter app for videos also launched. It’s not the first of its kind, but it’s the latest to capitalize on Instagram’s lack of a video feature – which hasn’t gone unnoticed.

In fact, there’s a lot of ground here Instagram is missing out on and we can’t help but feel like it’s falling a little behind. The long-rumored Android app has yet to make an appearance and might be delayed in favor of Windows Phones (although CEO Kevin Systrom seemingly killed that rumor in a recent interview with Gizmodo), and since Systrom mentioned integrating video some four months ago we haven’t heard another word. And there hasn’t been a significant update since the 2.0 upgrade – which many users suggest was really a downgrade.

We get it: Instagram is still an incredibly small company and is working to scale its platform’s performance capabilities to its skyrocketing user base, and it’s being incredibly careful about this (maybe too careful?). There’s also the fact they’ve done so much without – namely without Android users or a Web app. So imagine what it would be with these, or with animated GIF or video support? It just makes us wonder what the holdup is and anxious for the next big thing (even if it’s just new filters or a selective color tool) from everybody’s favorite photo sharing platform.