Facebook has rolled out a ‘Lite’ version of its popular messaging app Messenger for Android users on Monday as it seeks to expand its footprint in emerging markets. The latest pared-down Messenger app is designed for old phones with less memory consumption and less powerful processors.
Messenger Lite will be initially available in Kenya, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Venezuela, but will expand to other countries on unspecified date. The new app will use less data and is designed to work in areas with slow internet connections.
Facebook is looking to target developing countries more as the Western markets including North America and Europe are already saturated. The social media giant has already launched Facebook ‘Lite’ version last year, which has less features as compared to desktop website and mobile app.
Messenger Lite is expected to work reliably on a wide variety of Android devices, and uses less data to mitigate unpredictable network speeds. But Android users will still be able to use the core features of Messenger, including the ability to send text messages, photos and links but won’t be able to record videos or voice calls as well as make payments.
“We want to make sure Messenger products are truly for everyone,” David Marcus, head of Messenger, said in an interview.
Apart from ‘Lite’ versions of its apps, Facebook has also offered a bared-bones version of the internet in more than three dozen countries, called Free Basics, to connect people to the internet who do not have a reliable connection. The ‘Lite’ versions are expected to work perfectly on Free Basics internet connections.
Facebook has not made any comment whether there will be a similar app for iOS too or not. In the past, Facebook made it clear that it chose markets with a “prevalence of basic Android smartphones”.