Big Day for Windows Phone Users: Instagram and Waze Now Available

PHOTO: Instagram and Waze are not available for Windows Phone. Instagram, Google
Instagram and Waze are not available for Windows Phone.

It's a good day for Windows Phone users.

This afternoon Microsoft announced that two of the most popular apps for the iPhone and Android phones were coming to the smartphone platform. Instagram, the must-have photo-sharing app, and Waze, a popular social traffic and GPS app, are available starting now in the Windows Phone Store.

Instagram in particular has been long anticipated by Windows Phone users. The lack of the app in the Windows Phone store has been one of the reasons reviewers have found it difficult to recommend a Windows Phone device.

The Instagram app for Windows Phone works just like the Android and iPhone apps, although it doesn't include video-sharing features yet.

But, yes, the most important feature -- taking a photo and placing a filter on top -- is up and running just as you'd expect. You can download Instagram on your Windows Phone here.

Waze, which was purchased by Google in June, allows Windows Phone users to get traffic information from others on the road. With Waze, drivers can report traffic jams and accidents. It will then reroute users around the traffic. You can download Waze on your Windows Phone here.

The release of the two apps, along with the release of Twitter's Vine app for the platform earlier this month, represents strong momentum for Microsoft's smartphones.

While still trailing behind Google's Android and Apple's iOS, the company has moved into the third spot and has released a number of compelling phones in the past few months, including the Nokia Lumia 1520 and the Lumia 1020 with a 41-megapixel camera.

Microsoft announced that it would buy Nokia's Devices and Phone Business for $7 billion in September. Nokia has been one of the lead players pushing for more third-party apps, including Instagram.