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Audacious Fox

Your ‘Lite’ App Should Be Your Only App

I’ve noticed a trend:

Twitter Lite:

Today, we are rolling out Twitter Lite, a new mobile web experience which minimizes data usage, loads quickly on slower connections, is resilient on unreliable mobile networks, and takes up less than 1MB on your device. We also optimized it for speed, with up to 30% faster launch times as well as quicker navigation throughout Twitter.

YouTube Go:

the app is designed to be offline first and improve the experience of watching videos on a slower network; it gives you more control over data usage, by providing choice and transparency into the amount of data spent on streaming or saving videos.

Amazon Kindle Lite:

Kindle Lite is the new lightweight app built specially for a great reading experience even on slow networks and with patchy connectivity. It is less than 2MB, works on slow networks, and occupies less space on your smartphone.

Google News Lite:

In the new Lite mode things look a little different — we keep the headlines and trim the rest of the components down to their essentials so that the app loads more quickly (and uses less than one-third of the data).

Facebook Lite:

Facebook Lite is less than 1MB so it is fast to install and quick to load. It includes Facebook’s core experiences like News Feed, status updates, photos, notifications and more.

Android Oreo (Go Edition)

With our new and reimagined Google apps, we’ve focused on making them not only smaller, but smooth and fast too. For example, Google Go—a new app to find the information you want—optimizes data by up to 40 percent, weighs less than 5MB in size, and makes it faster to find popular and trending information with a simple, tappable interface.

CNN Lite:

In Hurricane #Irma’s path with a weak phone connection? Stay up to date with the text-only version of our website http://lite.cnn.io 


What part of being fast, data conscious, and reliable is exclusive to old devices or those on poor networks? Why does Twitter Lite feel more like Twitter than anything the company’s done with their main website or app over the past few years? Are Facebook, Twitter, and Google truly so married to ads, analytics, and A/B testing frameworks that their only shot at making a reasonably sized, fast app is to start fresh? Will these lite variants actually stay that way, or will the bloat slowly creep back in?

Here’s a thought: the lite version of your app, service, or website should be your only app, service, or website. And if you’re just starting out, build the lite variant first, then stop.

That said, I do think “lite” is the appropriate moniker. Not because it’s the best label for these lightweight alternatives, but because the regular offerings are tragically obese.