UBER HAS LAUNCHED a new, barebones version of its app as it tries to keep its ambitions for developing markets alive.
Uber Lite weighs in at a mere 5MB (compared to the main app's 181MB) and will provide a more reliable app for its customers who use older or less powerful phones, such as those sold under the Android Go moniker.
Uber's prime target for the app will be India where it still has a thriving service, but other developing markets are slated for future rollout too.
This may come as a surprise to some as it is known that Softbank, the Chinese giant that owns a 20 per cent stake in Uber, has already suggested that it might be time to sell up and retreat to Western markets. But the development of a new app suggests that the other backers have a better idea.
The aim is to use the minimum footprint in terms of RAM and data costs. It's also expected to work better with shonky connections.
Maps, for example, can be switched off to save data, instead, you're greeted with a simple, largely monochrome readout of what you can do, where you cab is and so on.
Some features remain - you can still, for example, split the cost of the cab between riders. But one of the significant changes is there's on-device caching of the most popular destinations, meaning that in a future update you'll be able to order a ride to the most popular destinations with virtually zero data transfer.
India is a huge market for Uber. Although it plays second fiddle in the territory to Ola, which has seen massive success with its own Lite app, the California company has seen significant growth in market share (something that it can't claim everywhere) which gives it hope for the future. µ
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