Camera 2 demonstrates how great an Android app can be when optimized for Ice Cream Sandwich and above

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Camera 2, from the creators of Paper Camera, demonstrates how fantastic an Android app can be when limited to devices running Android 4.0 and above.

From the title it’s easy to glean that Camera 2 takes photos, but this isn’t some better-than-stock app replacement, nor is it an Instragram or Flickr competitor. Camera 2, like Paper Camera before it, adds real-time effects and animations to photos and videos, taking advantage of the powerful GPUs found in most modern Android devices.

The main set of effects range from variations on specific themes — decades of the 20th century, comic books, sci-fi, art, computer, lomo — and each includes between two and eight individual effects. While some of them appear to be throwaway filters best left alone, the majority of them are fun, useful and immediately gratifying. They can turn unremarkable frames into something worth sharing; they can also litter your social feeds with hard-to-appreciate art motifs.

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More than the content of the app, which itself is well worth the $2.99 asking price, an app like Camera 2 is evidence that developers who focus on Android 4.0 and above will derive a far better user experience than those who maintain support for Gingerbread. Animations are smooth, and the effects are applied to video in real time, a first for an Android app. You can also add instant blur effects (think Instagram) to all or part of an image.

Considering 60% of Android users run ICS or above, it’s well worth considering cutting off support for Gingerbread in your next app. It will not only make development easier and less fraught with bugs, but maintaining the app over time will be less time-intensive. And a better app will undoubtedly lead to higher ratings and better sales than one that runs poorly on more devices.

Download Camera 2 for Android.

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