Earlier today (June 5, 2015) Facebook Inc launched the light version of its social media platform in the shape of an Android app. It’s a service meant to help people living in developing countries connect to the internet and get a sense of what the place is, how it works and what it can do in order to aid them in improving their daily lives.
A full and highly complex version of the its social media platform could not be offered to the people of India, Africa, and Southeast Asia as these countries have poor internet connections and Facebook does not work well when running on a weak network connection.
Dubbed “Facebook Lite”, the software had its launch today in only Asia, however you can expect to find it certain part of Latin America, Africa, and Europe in the upcoming weeks.
The app is a low-resolution, stripped down version of Facebook that was designed specificall for the developing world and does not encounter many difficulties when facing lower quality internet connections. It also uses a lot less data than the typical smartphone app that we’ve all grown accustomed to.
One of the major differences are that Facebook Lite does even take up one (1) megabyte of storage space on a phone’s internal memory or a memory card. For comparison, the standard app takes about twenty-five (25) megabytes. While the standard app requires a 4G connection, Facebook Lite works just fine on a 2G connection.
Another difference, and one that would most likely drive many of the people living in developed countries crazy, is that Facebook Lite does not allow features that use a lot of data, such as videos or Nearby Friends.
Some of the features that users will be able to enjoy include updating their statuses, posting and sharing photos, getting notifications, scrolling through their news feed, commenting and liking posts.
Vijay Shankar, product manager for Facebook Lite, posted a blog entry explaining that “In many areas, networks can be slow and not able to support all the functionality found in Facebook for Android. Facebook Lite was built for these situations, giving people a reliable Facebook experience when bandwidth is at a minimum”.
He also informs that more than a billion people around the world access Facebook from their mobile devices, with the range of the network connections varying greatly.
While the new app will no doubt bring several advantages to people living in developing countries, there’s also no denying that it opens up Facebook Inc to a whole new market that could end up being very profitable for the company.
Ericsson shares that due to the launch of several low-cost smart devices, roughly eighty percent (80%) of smartphone subscriptions that will be added between the year of 2015 and 2020, will come from people living in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.
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