Instagram Lite, a smaller version of the app that is only 573KB in size has been launched on the Google Play Store. Instagram is yet to officially announce the Lite version of the app, though the link for the app is now live. However the Lite version of the app appears to be incompatible with most regular smartphones and will likely only work on budget phones or Android Go edition phones.
The move will help Instagram acquire new users and make inroads into markets where connectivity is patchy and users rely on smartphones with more basic specifications. Facebook, which owns Instagram, already has a Lite version of its main app and the Messenger app. Facebook Lite had close to 200 million users in 2017.
Instagram, which recently announced that it has over 1 billion users, is the next big bet for Facebook, which has seen its own growth slow down. Instagram’s growing popularity and the success of new features like Stories, has meant that the photo-sharing app is now valued at close to $100 billion. Instagram also launched its IGTV earlier this month, which is being seen as a rival to Google’s YouTube.
With Instagram Lite, the app will help bring newer users, including those who might have stayed away from the platform given its size and the kind of data required to browse the app. Instagram Lite app will have all the features as the main app. According to the description, the lite app will let users post photos and edit them with filters. Users will be able to share Stories on Instagram Lite as well, and these will disappear after 24 hours.
Instagram Lite will have an Explore Tab where users can stories, photos and videos they might like and follow new accounts as well just like the main app. It looks like the Direct Message feature of Instagram is not going to be a part of the lite version of the app for now. Instagram Lite will get this feature later, according to the description on Play Store page. Instagram’s main app now has a video-calling feature as well, which has been rolled out for all users. Again, the Lite version of the app does not have this feature.
According to TechCrunch , the testing for Instagram Lite began in Mexico this week. A statement from the company says, “We are testing a new version of Instagram for Android that takes up less space on your device, uses less data, and starts faster.”
The advantage with a Lite app will be that users who have not tried out the app thanks to minimal storage on their phone, will now have one that might actually work on their device. Google itself has introduced the Android Go version of Oreo, which is centred around budget devices with 1GB or less RAM and around 8GB of on-board storage.
The Play Store on these phones tends to highlight apps which are designed for such budget phones, which would be Instagram Lite, Facebook Lite, etc. Keep in mind that users can download the regular version of the app on the Android Go phone as well, but the Lite version of the app is one that is designed to work smoothly on the more basic phones.
The main Instagram app also has a data saver mode now, which is interesting to see. Given its focus on videos and photos, this is one of the most data consumption heavy apps, and such a mode will likely be appreciated by users. In countries like India, where data is still expensive for many users, despite the recent price cuts thanks to the entry of Reliance Jio, a Lite version of the Instagram app could boost its growth further.