Twitter is testing an app on the Android operating system named Twitter Lite which is designed for mobile networks that have slow speeds and expensive data prices. The app is expected to consumer less data on wireless carriers and is thus well suited for emerging markets and other places were speeds are slow and data more expensive.
Currently the app is being tried out in the Philippines where it is featured separately from the main Twitter app for Android on Google Play Store. It can only be installed on mobile devices running version 5.0 of the Android operating system. In the Philippines support is offered for both Filipino and English languages. The app can be used on both 2G and 3G wireless networks.
“The Philippines market has slow mobile networks and expensive data plans, while mobile devices with limited storage are still very popular there. Twitter Lite helps to overcome these barriers to usage for Twitter in the Philippines,” said a spokesperson for Twitter.
According to Twitter the rollout of the miniature app in the Philippines was an experiment which would be instrumental in extending the app to other markets. Some of the primary functions of Twitter Lite that the app shares with the main app include offering or receiving customer service, marketing businesses, interacting with brands, government information, entertainment updates, sports scores, breaking news, profile customization, Messages, notifications and timeline.
The move comes at a time when Twitter has refashioned itself into a media firm and has consequently entered into deals which allow it to livestream events in the hopes of enticing more users and increasing usage with a view to raising more revenues from advertising.
Besides users in the emerging markets, users in some advanced markets are also using the app because it takes less time to load than the main app. According to Twitter the Lite app is significantly smaller in size and drastically cuts data usage. Its size is under one megabyte and its data consumption is 70% lower compared to the main app. The speed of launching is 30% faster compared to the regular app. And when installed the amount of space Twitter takes up is less than three megabytes. To make Twitter Lite even less data-intensive users can apply a mode that is free of any media. There is also the option of choosing which videos or images to download.