US-riding hailing firm Uber has launched Uber Lite in India but targeted at the other emerging markets such as as Latin America and Africa where data is expensive and smartphone penetration is largely populated by low storage $100 Android smartphones.
“At Uber, we believe that anyone, anywhere should be able to get a ride. And while that’s true for millions of people across the more than 600 cities where we operate, ridesharing is used by only a small fraction of the world’s population today,” said Shirish Andhare, Head of Product for Emerging Markets.
Uber Lite is a simple version of the rider app that saves space, works on any network, and on any Android phone.
Uber Lite is less than 5MB to download (that’s equivalent to just 3 selfies). A smaller app frees up space for actual selfies and other apps. And, with a 300-millisecond response time (literally the blink of the eye), the booking process is fast even in low connectivity.
Uber Lite keeps the core functionality of our rider app, and has many of its existing features like in-app support and the ability to share your trip with friends and family.
But with a reimagined interface, it was designed to make booking rides easier and quicker in spotty connectivity and slower than average internet speeds, on basic Android phones, and for people with limited data plans through the following new features:
- Guided pickups: Uber Lite guides users through the request experience by detecting their current location, so minimal typing is required. If it can’t detect your location because of GPS or network issues, it will surface popular pickup points nearby from you to choose from.
- Tap over type: Uber Lite makes picking your destination as easy as a tap of a button. The app caches the city’s top places so that even when you are offline, no network is needed for them to surface. And the more you use Uber Lite, the smarter the app gets, learning where you go most often and surfacing those options for you to tap first, so you don’t have to type your destination every time.
- Maps only when you want them: To keep the app light and fast, maps in Uber Lite are optional, but available with just a tap if you want them. And coming soon, a progress bar helps users follow the driver’s progress should you opt to not load the map.
But this is just the start. We’re adding updates soon like the ability for riders to choose their preferred language for the app during sign up, and request a ride even when they are offline.
Uber Lite is piloting in India and coming to more countries later this year. Just months ago, Uber launched Uber Chap Chap, a cheaper version of its app for Nairobi,to take on competition from apps like Taxify, MaraMoja Transport and Little.