Facebook is in the process of testing a new simplified app intended for entry-level Android handsets.
Facebook Lite, as the new app is called, has been specifically designed with emerging markets in mind. As the Google Play Store blurb reveals, it's fast to install (at just 1MB), quick to load, and efficient with data.
As reported by TechCrunch, the app has been quietly rolled out in a number of such markets for testing purposes. Regions such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zimbabwe are experiencing an explosion in smartphone usage.
India, in particular, is the fastest growing smartphone market in the Asia Pacific region. Meanwhile, all across the region, as well as Africa, the mobile phone is the main means for connecting to the internet.
In such countries, however the smartphone hardware used is largely low-end. Mobile network speeds and quality, too, are generally quite low.
As such, the Facebook Lite app has been designed with a 2G internet connection in mind. It's based on Snaptu, Facebook's feature phone client, but with a couple of enhancements for smartphones. These enhancements include push notifications and camera integration.
The report claims that a wider roll-out for Facebook Lite is not a certainty, and that "Facebook could quietly can the project if it doesn’t believe it is worth pursuing."