Instagram's Android app gets 3D Touch-like features without the need for pressure-sensing displays

Instagram's Android app gets 3D Touch-like features without the need for pressure-sensing displays
Ever since Apple debuted "Force Touch" on the Apple Watch earlier this year, the pressure-sensing mechanism has been at the center of heated debate. On one hand, there are some who don't feel like Force Touch - or 3D Touch as the same system is called on the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus - adds any real-world utility. On the other, some argue that a display's ability to detect various pressure levels opens up the door to a new level of user interaction. In this context, we'd like to talk about how Instagram has attempted to bring 3D Touch-like functionality to its Android app.

A new update to the Instagram app for Android borrows a trick that the Facebook-owned social network originally debuted on the iOS version of the app. On the iPhone 6S, for example, users can preview an image by performing a hard press on a photo's icon. In the new Instagram app for Android, this feature is replicated in a similar fashion, although it is initiated by a long press, not a harder one. 

On iOS, 3D Touch also allows the user to launch shortcuts by hard pressing on the Instagram icon in the home screen, but this feature was not ported to Android as the OS doesn't support app shortcuts from the home screen.

In itself, the ability to preview a photo by long-pressing its icon is far from revolutionary. In the current context, however, it's very interesting to note that Android app makers are starting to realize that the simple long press can mimic 3D Touch-enabled features. Looking into the future, multiple Android smartphone makers are said to be interested in adopting a pressure-sensing display technology that Synaptics has unveiled a few months ago.

After briefly pushing the update yesterday, Instagram has since pulled it from the Google Play servers, claiming that this was just a test drive and that the feature may roll out in a future version of the app. If you can't wait until that happens, head on over to this link and download the Instagram 7.13.0 (18650373) APK file.

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26 Comments

1. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

WHAT? But then what will justify the purchase of a whole new phone with crippled battery and ugly case if not hardware features that can easily be replicated via software tricks.

3. AlikMalix unregistered

People that say "easily replicated with software longpress" have not used forcetouch on 6s... (and please enlighten me how my battery that lasts a day and a half is "crippled")

5. maherk

Posts: 6750; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I tried it, and I can honestly say that it has the same experience as long pressing. But I gotta admit, that vibration feedback is amazing, it is so sleek and natural.

9. Bm888

Posts: 517; Member since: Jul 06, 2015

There many apps I have been using with long press and give me shortcuts with pressing options toggles.. One such is UC browser and mini...its been swift to me. I'd love all apps having the same even in non 3D devices.. It's a time saver and swift for many actions from screen...

10. Bm888

Posts: 517; Member since: Jul 06, 2015

Without pressing *

7. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

I've tried it and not a big fan, but I don't count since I don't like pressure sensitive anything (including hardware buttons, not a fan of RSI). Also, try thinking outside the box. Clearly Apple wouldn't get into the case with battery market if it wasn't worth a good deal of money. They don't make things out of the goodness of their hearts, they make it if there is a demand and they can milk it good.

12. apakalo1

Posts: 67; Member since: Nov 19, 2015

LIAR. I also have a new iPhone 6s as my second phone. It last just 4hrs of medium use... Do you think you are the only one using the phone? Keep on giving fans to a company that become rich from you...

14. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

dude 4hrs with medium use? I call bs, yup...I smell that from a mile away. Why would I say this? because out of our 18man team here, 10 are using iphones, we go beyond medium use because our job is to be on the dang phone all day. Phones here last longer than 6hrs with 'hard' use.

18. insyt

Posts: 52; Member since: Sep 16, 2015

Lol 6 hours with heavy use...

19. joseg81

Posts: 204; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

lol so funny to see ppl brag about 6hrs with heavy use. try anywhere from 18-29hrs with medium to heavy use on one charge with the nexus 6 running M.

20. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

I am not bragging, heavy use means the screen is on for 6hrs straight with hotspot usage and other various means of usage. And they are not dead. As for the nexus 6, I highly doubt your idea of heavy usage and mine are the same. I would love to see it last 18hrs of video playback (it wont). However I am sitting here, over an hour on hotspot with 3 tethered and downloaded updates for devices, some usage, would consider it light, light sms/mms, 15min call, news check. And my battery is 85% after 6hrs. 1520.

26. Dr.SamX

Posts: 239; Member since: Jan 19, 2015

-my battery that lasts a day and a half- HAHAHA Do you live in wonderland or dreamland?

15. Zomer

Posts: 361; Member since: May 31, 2013

Crippled battery? Wow fanboy alarm.

2. RajRicardo

Posts: 486; Member since: Feb 28, 2014

Apple will probably ruin this. :|

4. rick_mobile

Posts: 358; Member since: Dec 13, 2010

I had this in my note 4 last year with just hovering the spen over pictures or links, etc. I hardly ever used it and I didn't even have to touch the display. A few years back when I was trying to learn web development there was code you could add to the pages to have this functionality with the mouse pointer. It's okay I guess but mostly a guimmick. In my opinion is a lame excuse. Implementation of this old tech just to claim #innovation and keep earning big profits. Sound like a certain company is desperate and has been out of ideas for a while. I've had the chance to play with it a couple years ago and recently with the iphone and I thought it was stupid, but that's just my opinion. Even if android adds it later, I would still think it's stupid. But what do people know about tech. It's not like most of us choose to be stupid. Some people are just born that way.

25. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

Samsung did not care for Air View and therefore Play Store developers do not care either. All Samsung cared about was showing off Air View to make commercials. Apple is showing off 3D touch in ads too, but the difference is that in 2-3 years force touch will be an integral part of iOS as more and more developers start implementing the technology into their apps. As for Instagram bringing similar functionality to Android, it's actually not good news. First because they probably won't do a great job imitating the peek and pop feature on iOS and secondly because it's just another example of Play Store developers' refusal to move away from iOS ports. It takes time and resources to make and maintain separate Android apps and Instagram is being nothing else but LAZY as they've traditionally been with their Android app. If people are stupid for trying out 3D touch on iOS, you're just as stupid for doing the same with Air View on the Note.

6. King_bilo

Posts: 115; Member since: May 20, 2015

I'm just here to see android vs apple rants

21. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

best part? eating popcorn right now haha

8. Plutonium239

Posts: 1180; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

You don't even need to do a long press to replicate force touch. Displays are already capable of detecting the surface area that you are touching, press light and the surface area of your finger that is touching is small, press harder the surface area increases. With clever programming this could work. Of course it would likely require being calibrated to the user before the first use.

22. Sidewinder

Posts: 515; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

There is already a xposed module which does exactly this. The module is called 'force touch drtector'. Tried it a while back. Was a bit tricky getting it set up and calibrated but rafter that it worked pretty flawlessly.

11. Rigbaby

Posts: 98; Member since: Nov 06, 2014

Honestly, I know this is not a global improvement but it would be really nice if Samsung could include similar functionality to the Note line which definitely have pressure sensitivity with the S Pen. I know it doesn't seems most practical if you only use the pen occasionally but it would definitely be an advantage.

13. apakalo1

Posts: 67; Member since: Nov 19, 2015

Hahaha, do you think Samsung will implement this kiddy kind of so-called innovation? Samsung is above that okay.

16. Zomer

Posts: 361; Member since: May 31, 2013

They will copy it, like they have done with every feature, although the features on those Swinesung phones are normally inferior.

17. jontaylor07

Posts: 169; Member since: Oct 12, 2015

That kind of pressure sensitivity would require using a stylus (or "Pencil") that has the pressure-sensitive bits, or having a pressure sensitive screen.

24. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

First off Apple bought the hardware for Force Touch just like all the other OEMs were already doing. APPLE simply rushed with some half-assed version that wasn't even well thought out, thus it's limited usage. Did you not see the article where Synaptics already has this hardware and has already sold it to several oems including Samsung and Apple is also turning them because the original solution isn't that great.

23. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

Long press? C'mon PA, is this a real article? Are you just trolling us now?

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