Facebook Launches Low-End Version – Facebook Lite
Facebook is not stopping at newly introduced apps and features such as stickers inside Messenger, Facebook at Work, Groups and Rooms. The world’s largest social network has launched a new lightweight version of its mobile app known as “Facebook Lite.” This lightweight app is targeted at low-end Android devices in emerging markets.
The app provides an interface which looks like a simplified version of Facebook’s mobile website from 2009-2010.
Facebook didn’t create a buzz before launching this app. It has now been launched in some countries of Africa and Asia including Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. The company is testing the new app in these countries for now before it takes the app to further emerging markets. So it is possible that Facebook may decide to axe the project if it does not turn out to be fruitful for the company.
Facebook Lite is designed specifically for those who use low-end Android devices, and those who are on 2G or poor quality internet connection. It is based on Facebook’s feature phone client – Snaptu – and is just 252 KB in size.
However, Facebook has always provided intuitive and easy-to-use interface and it has maintained its legacy in this new app as well. It includes some of the original app’s features such as push notifications and camera integration, to help provide a consistent experience among different apps.
Affordable smartphones are the new cool in Asia and this trend is expanding to other regions as well. Xiaomi, world’s third largest smartphone maker, saw massive increase in its sales after the introduction of its low-cost smartphones. These smartphones do provide much more in a small price point, but there are obviously performance lags. So the apps being run these smartphones need to be lightweight and must not require heavy compute power.
And Facebook doesn’t want to lose millions of users from these regions, does it? So Facebook Lite is the answer to capture these potential users.
Moreover, Facebook also has Internet.org project which aims to provide basic Internet facilities including access to Facebook in countries where Internet penetration is quite low. The project is limited to the countries of Africa (Zambia and others) at this time but Mark Zuckerberg plans to take this project worldwide.
So Facebook Lite will also help the company in providing access to the social network. The people in such countries would not want data-laden access because: one, they cannot afford such data plans and second, they probably do not have capable smartphones. So it is a good move from Facebook.
The app has already crossed 10,000 downloads and has received 4.6 rating from 810 reviewers. If you are located in one of the countries mentioned above, you can download the app from Play Store.