Facebook Inc rolled out a new Android app called Facebook Lite, it’s a new slimmed-down version of Facebook for Android that uses less data and works well regardless of network conditions. Specially made for developing nations.
Using Facebook on a slow network connections or on expensive data plans can be painful. To tackle these, Facebook is launching a low-resolution version of its Android app that works well on crummy networks or outdated phones, and burns much less data than its normal smartphone apps.
At less than one megabyte, Facebook Lite is quick to install and to use. While it still supports Facebook’s News Feed, status updates, notifications and photos, it does not support videos and advanced location services. But if users are willing to accept that and lower-resolution image thumbnails, they can access Facebook quick, smooth, and cheap from the most remote corners of the planet.
Facebook Lite will be rolled out today in countries across Asia and will soon make its way to parts of Latin America, Africa and Europe in the coming weeks, Vijay Shankar, product manager for Facebook Lite, said in an interview. In many of those countries, people still use 2G networks, which are much slower and have less power than the 4G networks in many developed nations.
Shankar says Facebook thought hard about the issue, but decided the billions of potential users were definitely worth the extra effort. “Adding multiple interfaces to the main Facebook experience is something we’ll have to maintain for years to come.” Facebook isn’t taking this new commitment to the developing world…lightly.