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Uber launches simplified app for emerging markets

Uber is making a move to cater to the millions of users in emerging markets with low-cost smartphones and cheap data plans.

On Tuesday, the tech giant unveiled “Uber Lite”, a minimal, 5-megabyte app with a reimagined, stripped-down interface designed to make booking rides easier and quicker for users with “spotty connectivity” and “slower than average internet speeds”.

The new app still has the core features of the regular one we know and love but drops all the bells and whistles in favour of saving space and increasing response time. Maps are optional and graphics are reduced to the bare essentials.

The app also caches information so many functions are available even if the user is offline.

Promotional image showing simple interface of Uber Lite app.

For the time being, Uber Lite is only available on Android phones, which make up the vast majority of the Indian market. IOS accounts for just 2% of smartphone sales in the country, which is why Uber is yet to commit to bringing the app to iOS, at least for now.

In a country with dozens of regional languages and limited connectivity, Uber Lite will introduce specific features for the Indian market like multiple language choices and the ability to book rides offline.

“Uber Lite is piloting in India and coming to more countries later this year,” the company stated in a blog post.

Uber’s move is a response to their main competitor in India, Ola, which launched their own Lite app earlier this year. Theirs is said to be even slimmer, using less than 1 megabyte of storage space.

Lite initiatives are not novel, though: both Google and Facebook have launched slimmed-down versions of their apps in certain regions.

Via The Verge

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Filmmaker. 3D artist. Procrastination guru. I spend most of my time doing VFX work for my upcoming film Servicios Públicos, a sci-fi dystopia about robots, overpopulated cities and tyrant states. @iampineros

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