Uber has just targeted emerging markets in a big way with the launch of a new lightweight app called Uber Lite. The ridesharing service currently operates in more than 600 cities around the world, but that’s only a sliver of the user base Uber dreams of. In an effort to draw in more customers, the company has launched a “lite” version of its app that can run on older and slower smartphones.
Lightweight apps — that is, apps that can be used on older and less powerful phones — are common in emerging markets where many individuals may be using phones that don’t have much storage space and slow data speeds. Facebook, for example, previously launched a lite version of its own app that doesn’t require much storage space and can be used in places where connectivity is spotty.
Uber’s own Uber Lite app is similar. Users need less than 5MB of data to download this version of the ridesharing app, which is designed for India. Using it, riders are able to book rides faster in areas with slower than usual Internet speeds and frequent connectivity issues. Even on a basic Android smartphone, Uber Lite offers a 300-millisecond response time.
The interface is different than the regular Uber app’s UI. According to the company, Uber Lite offers guided pickups, which is a feature where spotty connectivity won’t interfere with determining pickup locations. The app also supports tap-over-type to simplify choosing a destination city, only showing the maps when you want — instead of need — them.
Over time, Uber will update the app with new features, including the ability to choose a preferred language and request rides while offline. The app is currently only available in India, but Uber says it will be expanding it into other countries later this year.
SOURCE: Uber Newsroom