We’re really excited to launch our first version of Instagram today, free in the App Store. Instagram makes mobile photos fast, simple, & beautiful.

When we sat down three months ago to start designing our product, we looked at digital photos and realized very few exciting things had happened in the last 5 years. We’re setting out to change that, and this release is our first step along the way.

Some of the problems with photos we heard from users that we tried to solve:

1. “My mobile photos look lame”: even though the megapixel count on phone cameras keeps going up, most mobile photos don’t have mood and tone. We set out to change this by making it super-simple to transform your photos using 11 one-click filters in the app.

2. “It’s a pain to share to all the friends I care about”: some of your friends want to follow your every update in life; others like seeing some occasional posts on Facebook. We made it super-simple to share photos not only with your followers in the Instagram community, but with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Tumblr, all with a tap of the switch.

3. “Photos take forever to upload, and viewing them is slow”: we worked to make the uploading, sharing, and viewing experiences as smooth and speedy as possible, whether you’re using a first-gen iPhone or the latest and greatest.

We’re looking forward to seeing your photos & hearing your feedback on our app. We’re all ears at contact@instagr.am. You can also learn more about us, see our FAQs, and, if you’re an iPhone developer or designer, give our jobs page a look.

A huge thanks to our fantastic beta testers, who have given us the tough love that every app needs as it’s being created, and taken some stunning photos along the way, from San Francisco to Barcelona, Sao Paulo to Amsterdam. Here are three of our favorites, by @chrismessina, @colerise, and @grex:

Want the app? Download it for free in the App Store!