Twitter has taken the wraps off a new data-optimized version of its service that it hopes will be a hit among emerging.
Its called Twitter Lite and, unlike similar Lite apps from Facebook and others, it is browser-based living atmobile.twitter.com. It is essentially a data-optimized version of the regular Twitter service that, the company said, loads fast and will work well on limited internet connections. It added that, already, hundreds of millions visit the mobile app each month but now it wants to expand that reach.
A web app isnt as powerful as a native app, but Twitter said it had opted for this approach because it believes it can make its service accessible to new users.It works on most smartphones and tablets without an App Store or Google Play account. You wont need an email account or credit card either, it said.
The app also comes in at less than 1MB making it well-sized for cheaper handset that dont have a lot of storage while on Android phones it includes notifications and alerts, offline access and the potential for a home screen app.
Twitter hasnt had anything like the success in emerging markets as Facebook. Beyond a monthly user base of 1.86 billion, Facebooks revamped Lite app alone counts 200 million usersjust two years after its launch. That makes it the companys fastest growing service, and it isnt all that far from Twitters entire userbase, which stands at319 million.
India, in particular, is a place where Twitterhas struggled.Indias online population is tipped to reach 450 million-465 million people by June 2017,according to a recentreport co-authored bytheInternet and Mobile Association of India. And yet reports have suggested that less than 20 percent of India-based social network users are on Twitter.
India is very much the target here. Twitter said it has agreed to a partnership with Vodafone, which will see the operator soon to be Indias largest based on subscribers promote the service to its 177 million customers.
Interestingly, Twitter wants to sellits Lite app as a way to getupdates and alerts on the go.
No matter where you are in the world, we want to make Twitter the best way for you to get real-time updates on news, sports, entertainment, politics, and other topics that matter most to you, it added.
The real question is why Twitter Lite has taken so long to be released?
The service was developed last year by a team in India alongside a messaging app for emerging markets, according to a report from BuzzFeed, but it appearedto have been canned. TechCrunch first wrote about the potential for Twitter Lite back in 2009, when Facebooks first version of its Lite app was announced, so todaysintroduction is long, long overdue.