Google's "Go" app variants are a certified hit, even if a large portion of Android users can't actually use them. Gmail Go, the lighter and less resource-intensive version of Gmail designed for handsets running Android Go, has now secured at least half a billion downloads in the Play Store.
Social media platforms have maintained slimmed-down versions of their apps in the past few years to grab more users from developing markets with low-end hardware. Facebook, however, has decided to shut down Instagram Lite and is now redirecting users to the main app. The company has not said why.
Facebook's Messenger has grown from being a simple texting solution to an independent messaging and video chatting software. Because of its numerous features, the company separated Messenger into a dedicated app, which ended up being quite heavy. However, Facebook released Messenger Lite in 2016 to offer a less resource-hungry alternative for more limited devices. The lighter app has become so successful that it just passed 500 million downloads on the Play Store.
About a year ago, we took a first glance at Spotify Lite, which aimed at offering a complete experience for older devices and slower connections. While the company managed to reduce the app size to just 15MB, it also stripped the software out of most of its features. Thankfully, it has managed to significantly improve its Lite app over the last year, which now has the majority of the main app's functionality, as it's officially expanding it to 36 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.
The Huawei Mate 20 Lite was leaked in graphic detail earlier this month, exposing a big battery, four cameras, and a notched display. Huawei officially unveiled the device today, confirming many of the previously rumored details — plus a buzzy and entirely unsurprising focus on AI.
These days, a lot of popular apps have lite versions. Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and even Uber now have tiny versions of their main apps, and Spotify is the latest to join in on the fun. Unfortunately, its implementation isn't exactly the greatest, with a lot of crucial features from the main app missing.
Scaled down versions of apps are nothing new; Google has made plenty of "Go" apps specifically for emerging markets where internet connections are unreliable, phones are generally less capable, and plans offer less data. Uber is now getting in on the act, too.
Uber Lite has been built with India in mind — where it's currently being piloted — but it will be coming to other regions around the world later on.
With mobile data getting faster and smartphones having larger storage, you'd be forgiven if you thought the need for slimmer and more efficient apps is dwindling. Quite the contrary, many developers are building bigger apps with overflowing features, which are not optimized enough for the lower-end devices and slower networks that are still found all around the world. To provide an alternative and avoid alienating this large user base, these developers are making "lite" versions of their apps — we've already seen this happen with Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Uber, LinkedIn, Skype, Shazam, and all of Google's Go apps. Instagram is now joining the fold with its own Lite app.
In August we heard that Google was following the recent trend and testing a lite version of its Search app aimed at users with slow data connections. Search (Test App) has only been available in Indonesian and Indian markets while being tested, but it was updated to a newer version a couple of days ago, and now it appears to be available in the US for some.