Facebook Lite is here. But why should you care?

In Games, Apps, and OS by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Facebook recently released the Facebook Lite app for Android, six months after being in the beta labs. Essentially a watered-down version of the Facebook app and website, Facebook Lite is intended for emerging markets where Internet connections are unreliable and bargain-basement devices are outselling their mid- to high-end counterparts by an embarrassing margin.

The app is currently available in India and the Philippines, and soon in Africa, Europe, and Latin America. Its only about 430KB in size compared to the full Facebook app, which gobbles up 140MB of my phone’s storage.

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The Facebook for Android interface (left) compared to the vastly simplified Facebook Lite interface (right).

A Facebook experience tailored for slow devices and slow Internet speeds looks like a dream on paper, but it comes with a few big caveats. You’ll have to deal with an interface that is nowhere near as pretty or responsive as what you’re used to on your smartphone or PC. Plus, you’ll be seeing a lot of poorly cropped photos on your timeline. All this for the sake of a Facebook app that will play nicely with dual-core Androids and 2G connections.

Personally, I’d recommend installing Facebook Lite, if only for the allure of lower bandwidth and storage requirements.

MY TAKE: If you know me personally, you probably know that I’m not a Facebook guy, or at least not until recently. I’ve only been egged on by my co-publisher Alora Uy Guerrero.

I’m a Twitter addict, to be honest, which sort of explains why I’ve been holding off on getting back on the Facebook bandwagon — and for good reason: Facebook and Twitter are two very different social networks. Obviously, I prefer one to the other, but that doesn’t mean I should quit the Internet’s biggest social-networking site altogether.

Personally, I’d recommend installing Facebook Lite, if only for the allure of lower bandwidth and storage requirements. You never know when you’ll be stuck in an area with poor cellular reception. But don’t count on me to delete the regular Facebook app from my phone anytime soon.

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Facebook Lite preview from of TechCrunch’s YouTube channel

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Ramon Lopez

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Reviews editor: Ramon "Monch" Lopez has 16 years of professional experience creating and editing content for print and digital publications such as Yahoo. He headed the gadgets-merchandising division of one of the Philippines’ largest retail operators somewhere in between.