Uber is the latest company to come up with a lightweight Android offering, which takes up less space than the regular app and will work on a slow connection to fuel expansion into emerging markets.
Named Uber Lite, the app requires less than 5MB to download compared with the usual 180MB, features a new interface and was designed to boost access to the company’s taxi-booking service in areas with “spotty connectivity and slower than average internet speeds”.
In a statement, the company explained the slimline app also targets users with “basic Android phones” on “limited data plans.”
The app will pilot in India, where it was designed, with more countries to be added later this year.
“We continue to see exponential growth outside of the US, and are thinking a lot about building for the next hundreds of millions of riders who we hope will choose Uber to get around,” the app maker said.
To keep the app light and fast, maps are optional.
Uber stated the app will soon be updated to enable users to book a taxi even when they are offline, though the company didn’t explain how.
In India, Uber’s rival Ola offers a similar app requiring 1MB of data to download. TechCrunch reported Ola commands a 45 per cent market share compared with Uber’s 35 per cent. However, the country generates 10 per cent of Uber’s total bookings.
TechCrunch added Uber has reportedly been in talks with Ola about a merger.