Towards the end of last week, Facebook quietly released Facebook Lite, a much smaller version of their app experience for Android phones designed to work with poor 3G coverage and to play nice with 2G networks. The social network has yet to officially introduce the app, but it's available for download in the Play Store, but as of writing it's not available for me in the UK as it seems this is an app designed with emerging markets in mind. The app comes in at less than 1MB and feels much more basic compared to the Facebook app we know and love here in the West.
It appears that Facebook Lite is only going to be available in countries that need it the most, right now it's available for download in Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zimbabwe, but there's a chance it'll hit other countries in the coming weeks. The app is designed to work with 2G networks just fine and Facebook Messenger appears to be built right into the app, rather than forcing users to download another app to get the same sort of experience. With internet usage taking off in emerging markets, it's no surprise that Facebook is trying their best to make the service usable for those that don't have speedy 3G or 4G networks to access the full web on the move. It would be nice to see the app roll out all over the world, especially in places like China, India and parts of Eastern Europe as strong 3G service can be difficult to come by.
Facebook Lite sure looks like a cut down version of Facebook, but it does offer the majority of features that you'd want from a Facebook app. You can view your friend's pictures, talk to people one-on-one as well as in group chats and you'll still get notifications on what your friends are up to and more. You can find the app at the source link below, but you might not be able to download it in your home region. If that is the case, then you can download the APK file here.