It’s now becoming a common move where apps are offering lite versions for users in less developed regions. From Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Skype, to now Uber Lite. Launching first in India, the company anticipates rolling the app out in other emerging markets in the future like Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.
The app takes less than 5 MB to download, and is rather different from the standard Uber app. It is designed to offer a better experience for users with limited data plans, sketchy connectivity, storage issues and slow network speeds. With majority of the app’s target audience using Android, this lite version is only compatible with Android phones, and comes with lots of improved features.
Based on your GPS, Uber Lite launches to a suggested nearby business or landmark letting you do less typing and more tapping instead. Maps are optional in the app to keep it running fast and smooth. The app tries to guess your destination based on pre-cached popular city spots and from input addresses minus the map unless you ask for it by tapping the ‘Tap for map‘ button.
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Uber also plans to offer offline hailing, through a peer-to-peer Bluetooth mesh network, where one can request for a ride without network connectivity. For your driver’s Estimated Time of Arrival, after you’ve selected your vehicle type and hailed, you’ll just get a countdown to their arrival unless you tap to see them on their way.
The app also does away with notifications, yet making a variety of languages to select from. Existing features like in-app support and the ability to share trips with friends and family will also be available in this lite app.
The company is doing its best to put the dark moments of its past behind it, having faced a tough reception from the US and European markets, following driver indiscipline and related issues.