As a key part of smartphone experience, the stock camera and gallery app combo on Android is quite nice, but it’s not perfect. For example, you cannot retouch photos on the device. Also, sharing options may be a tad limited. Lightbox Photos (Download) aims to solve both of these shortcomings, and add a bit of flair to the process. It could be said that this Android app is aiming to replace your regular camera functionality and it has a very good chance of doing that as well as giving the little, green robot something to crow about when iPhone owners talk about Instagram.
With Lightbox, the idea is not only to take photos and share them, but also to use the photos from your friends and news sites as a social discovery service.This app uses Android-specific user interfaces, like tabs at the top and option menus. These are things Android users know well and expect to see, but leave some iPhone fans cold. So let’s just say this: for Android, this is a very attractive app. The built-in camera function lets you snap a pic, optionally apply colorful filters through a scrollable interface above the photo and then tap “OK” to save the photo. On the next screen, you can add a brief description of the photo, set its privacy options and share it to your social networks.
Similar to Color that was released not to long ago, LightBox for Android pulls in photos from all your social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare and synchronizes them with your device. It also allows you to share any images you have taken to those same social networks. In addition to the synchronization options built-in, you also get a photo editor which allows you to select from different photo filters and adjust your images before sharing.
The neat thing about the Lightbox Android app is that you create one account and you’ll be able to view all of these pictures on any of your devices. That means you’ll be able to take photos on the go with your phone and then apply some filters to it much like you can withInstagram. You can also then share those photos on Facebook and Twitter for the world to see.
Taking photos with Lightbox is similar to any other photo app that you’ve used, though it operates more smoothly than most — likely a testament to the team’s dedication specifically to Android. Once you take a photo, you’re taken to a screen that will allow you to add a caption, your location (pulled from the Foursquare database) and share the photo to your social networks of choice. Of course, You can just choose to upload your photo to your Lightbox page, which then gives you a slick, minimal interface where others can view your shots. Your photos can also be viewed within the app, as can popular public photos others are sharing. The nice thing here is that the photos are continually synced with LightBox servers, so they load quickly in full resolution, even when being pulled down from the Web for display.
It’s not uncommon for photo apps to have sharing features and some of them (namely PicPlz) have a lot of them available to you. Lightbox is following the same method by providing sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare for now, with plans to move into other services via API according to demand.
The best part about Lightbox is that it syncs itself automagically over the cloud. It’s like what Apple is trying to do with iCloud – pictures you take on your smartphone pop up on your Honeycomb tablet and their web interface immediately. And probably most importantly, as internet-tied Lightbox is, it doesn’t require an internet connection to use, it’ll sync up everything you did once you grab onto a connection.