Facebook has been hard at work developing apps that branch off of the massive social network. The latest arrival is Facebook Lite, a newly-launched app that’s aimed at low-end Android phones and poor network connections. The app is minuscule, coming in at just 252KB in size, making it ideal for entry-level Android phones with severely limited storage. It also uses lots of compression and optimization to allow it to still function on slow or weak coverage, such as 2G networks. And for those using older devices, Facebook Lite features support all the way back to Android 2.2.
While similar to Snaptu, Facebook’s app for feature phones, Facebook Lite provides a better UI, push notifications and camera support, allowing low-end smartphone users to have a leg up on those with feature phones. The app is currently test launching in Asia and Africa, with support in Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. This test launch is a precursor to a possible wider rollout.
The markets that Facebook Lite is testing in are carefully targeted. The developing nations that were chosen are rapidly growing in terms of smartphone users, with the majority using extremely low-end Android phones. The standard Facebook app encounters a lot of trouble when running on such poor devices and networks, creating a need for an alternative such as Facebook Lite. Play Store reviews are overwhelmingly positive, even though it was only launched over the weekend, indicating that the app was necessary and is performing admirably.