Facebook is currently testing a simpler version of its social networking app, to see if it efficiently runs on low-end Android smartphones. Aptly titled, 'Facebook Lite' is a standalone app less than 1 MB in size which is strikingly similar to Facebook's simplified mobile web version, which launched back in 2009.
Techcrunch reports that the app is currently available in emerging markets including Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. The app has been developed to help people who own low-end Android phones with slow internet connections. It uses technology from Israel-based Snaptu, which Facebook acquired in 2011. It is also compatible with Android 2.2 and the download size is only 252 KB.
Facebook has possibly launched this app to promote its social network in emerging markets, where low-end Android phones are the only means of providing an Internet connection. The initial reaction to the app has been positive with multiple users reporting that the app is what they've been 'waiting for a long time'.
There has been no official statement from Facebook and it's not clear yet whether the company intends to continue their efforts to make a perfect app for emerging countries. If the app proves to be unsatisfactory among users, the company could quietly un-publish the app from the store without much of a disturbance considering the app isn't available worldwide. That being said, Facebook Lite currently pulls down a favorable 4.6 star rating in the store with 737 reviews and more than 10,000 downloads.
If you live in one of the eight countries mentioned above with a low-end Android smartphone, you can download the app from here.