Facebook unveiled a lite version of its mobile app earlier this year, and now that same app, called Facebook Lite, has officially launched for people who primarily use low-end Android phones or have a poor internet connection.
Facebook Lite, which is essentially a slimmed-down version of the Facebook app we all know and love (and sometimes hate), uses less data and is supposed to work well in a variety of network conditions, making it easier for any Facebook user to get online and connect with their friends via the social network.
The app was actually designed for people in emerging markets across Asia, as they tend to have poor network conditions as well as limited access to mobile devices with high-end specs and large batteries, but Facebook has just confirmed the app will also soon launch in parts of Europe, Latin America, and Africa.
What's the point of Facebook Lite?
Facebook said more than a billion people around the world access Facebook from a range of mobile devices on varying networks, but in some areas, network conditions can be slow. Some networks might not even support all the functionality currently found in the full Facebook for Android app. That's where Facebook Lite comes in.
"Facebook Light was built for these situations, giving people a reliable Facebook experience when bandwidth is at a minimum," explained the social network in a blog post published on 4 June, while highlighting that the new app weighs less than 1MB, so it is not only fast to install but also quick to load.
Does Facebook Lite have all of Facebook's core features?
Yes. Facebook Lite has the News Feed and allows you to post status updates. You can also post and browse photos, get notifications, and more. You can even send messages or join group chats through the built-in Messenger feature.
Is there an iOS version?
No. The app is only available for Android phones. It's aimed at lower-end Android devices with limited storage, but Facebook said it works on "all Android phones" and is meant for 2G networks or areas with slow/unstable connections.
The screenshots above reveal what the Android app looks like, and as you can see, it basically looks like an old version of the Facebook app. It's almost like going back in time, but it's supposed to be that way. It's Facebook Lite, after all.
When and where can you get Facebook Lite?
Facebook is now rolling out Facebook Lite in countries across Asia, and over the coming weeks, Facebook Lite will become available in parts of Europe, Latin America, and Africa. We've contacted the company to learn more.
When the app first unveiled earlier this year, it rolled out as part of a pilot test in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Nigeria, Nepal, South Africa, Sudan, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe. It wasn't tested in the US or the UK at the time.
You can now download the official app from the Google Play Store. It's free.