Why it matters to you
Are you looking to save data and only need the core messaging features of Facebook Messenger? Messenger Lite may be the app for you.
Facebook Messenger Lite, the low-data version of Facebook Messenger that first launched about a year ago, is coming to the U.S.
The app first debuted as a way for those with weak data connections — especially people in developing nations — to still experience Messenger. That’s changing, according to a report from TechCrunch, with the app now making its way to the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Ireland. It will be available on Android phones from the Google Play Store, but there doesn’t seem to be any plans for an iOS version of the app.
With emerging markets becoming an increasingly important space for tech companies and their services, it is no wonder Facebook is targeting countries that are not quite as advanced when it comes to connectivity and hardware. While users are still able to “quickly and easily send texts, photos, and links to anyone using Messenger or Messenger Lite,” the new app takes up much less space on a smartphone, and works with much weaker network conditions. “Messenger Lite was built to give people a great Messenger experience, no matter what technology they use or have access to,” Facebook engineering manager Tom Mulcahy wrote in the blog post announcing the app.
One major difference between Facebook Lite and its older sibling comes in the form of voice calls. While you can currently place outgoing calls on the standard version of Messenger, you will not be able to do the same thing in the Lite version. But given that 300 million people already use Messenger for voice calling, there is little doubt that this is one feature Facebook will want to roll out to all versions of its popular app.
Super-lightweight at just under 10MB — 95 percent smaller than the full version of the app — Facebook Lite promises to be both quick to install and start up. Messenger Lite first launched in five countries in October 2016, before debuting in many other countries around the globe in April 2017. The larger rollout could be aimed at bringing Messenger to more teens, because it’ll function quicker and could encourage users to stick with Messenger over other apps, like SMS or WhatsApp.