Twitter Lite is the new 1MB web service for the developing world

6 Apr 2017

Mali children using smartphone. Image: KODAKovic/Shutterstock

As major social media brands launch versions of their service for areas of low connectivity, Twitter follows suit with Twitter Lite.

While companies in Silicon Valley are developing their apps or products with more and more media capabilities, all of this extra data might suit those in countries with 4G internet, but not in the developing world.

According to the GSMA, almost half of the world’s population is still on 2G connectivity, despite the fact that nearly 4bn people now have smartphones.

For this reason, companies like Facebook have begun offering alternate versions of their platform through initiatives like that prunes some of the more data-consuming features in favour of a more streamlined option.

Now, Twitter has announced a similar idea with a new service it is calling Twitter Lite.

In a blog post, the company revealed that Twitter Lite would be accessible through a mobile web app taking up just 1MB of storage on a device.

Compared with the regular Twitter app, Twitter Lite minimises data usage, loads quickly on slower connections and is resilient on unreliable mobile networks.

Hopes to boost user numbers

Twitter also claims that its speed has been optimised to give up to 30pc faster launch times while providing the main features like the timeline; sending and receiving tweets; and notifications.

To cut down on data even more, Twitter Lite users can turn on a data saver mode to reduce data usage by 70pc by requiring you to tap to load media in the timeline and if it goes out of range of a data signal, it will keep the page working offline.

Similar to what Facebook did, Twitter has announced that from today it has partnered with Vodafone in India to let its 200m subscribers there to get live sports updates on the cricket Indian Premier League matches.

Twitter’s decision to offer a service for the developing world would appear to show its efforts to boost its numbers internationally having shown much slower growth that many of its competitors.

Mali children using smartphone. Image: KODAKovic/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic