Released without much fanfare on the Mexican Google Play Store, Instagram Lite is a new app for accessing the social media platform from emerging markets, where slower internet speeds tend to make data-heavy apps a difficult proposition.
The release was confirmed by TechCrunch, which received confirmation from the company that the new app has initially rolled out in Mexico, and is expected to be released in other emerging markets over the coming months.
In its attempt to use as little data as possible, there have been a number of sacrifices made. For example, you can’t send or receive direct messages, nor can you post videos. It’s unclear at this point whether the company is waiting to find a low-data means by which it could integrate these features into the app, or whether these simply won’t be made available in this app.
So far, Instagram seems to have done a good job of slimming down the data requirements of the new app, which weighs in at just 573kB. That’s less than 0.5% of the 141MB iOS app.
A Lite world
Instagram’s owner, Facebook, has already produced ‘Lite’ versions of its apps designed for emerging markets. We’ve so far seen both Messenger Lite and Facebook Lite released, offering access to those services to low-data users on low-power devices.
This leaves just WhatsApp among Facebook’s portfolio that’s yet to receive a ‘Lite’ version. But considering the data usage of the app is already very reasonable, how much of a difference a ‘Lite’ version would make.
We’ve seen a number of Lite apps eventually making their way to developed markets such as the UK, and as such, we wouldn’t be surprised if Instagram Lite followed the same route – although it’s unlikely to be a priority in the immediate future.
Have you tried out the Lite versions of Facebook’s apps? Were the sacrifices worth the reduced data usage? Let us know @TrustedReviews