Uber has decided that its existing app is a little too messy and a little too full of unnecessary cruft for its users who decide against spending big on smartphones and make do without the latest bells and whistles.
Consequently, the company has announced Uber Lite, a new app that does away with a lot of the visual eye candy and makes way for a simpler interface that it claims would serve to summon cabs quickly even with limited connectivity, in 2G networks to boot. The app is designed to occupy only 5MB of space, which is certainly helpful for users in emerging markets, where smartphone flash storage space hasn't quite reached the average enthusiast's standard of 64GB.
The other salient trade-off is that Uber Lite will have the standard map-based interface for the app turned off, which means users can't fine-tune their location unless they choose to toggle this feature. Rather, one can choose GPS co-ordinates and a number of alternate pickup-points suggested by the app. The company also claims that the app will learn to fine-tune itself over time, so the absence of a map-based interface by default may not be that big of a deal.
Uber has also outlined features that it intends to throw in some time in the future, such as offline cab-hailing and switching default language.
At the moment, Uber Lite appears to be Android-only, and the company will be using India as a testing ground for the app before expanding it to other countries. In order to try out the app before it sees a public release, you can register here, though there's no word as of now on an exact date of release for it.