“Delete three selfies and you got space for Uber Lite,” said Peter Deng, the Head of Rider at Uber.
Uber, the ride-sharing company has decided to boost its market by targeting users outside the U.S. On Tuesday, the company announced the launch of a newer and ‘bluer’ version of it, which will be developed in India especially for Indians. However, the company will eventually include other countries. The transportation king sees 75 million rides per month, but in order to grow its usership, they must rethink their approach. More than 70 percent of Uber’s users from outside of the U.S. use an older version of the app owing to slow internet connection and older smartphones. Moreover, about 40 percent of them use 2G network in the world of 5G and more than 30 percent use Uber’s older version due to a shortage of space in their smartphone. No worries, Uber Lite is here to the rescue.
Manik Gupta, the VP and head of product at India explained that India is one of the most crucial and most relevant markets and thus it makes sense that the country’s team build the new app for it. The existing app will be completely redesigned to make it light, reliable, and simple to use. Gupta said, “The new app will have less than 5MB download size with 300-millisecond response time, making it faster on any smartphone. It will work on low connectivity or slow internet connection, and the booking of the ride will be faster and simpler than the original app.”
According to Gupta, the app has the innovative option of ‘guided to pick-up’ that can help riders chose pick-up location with minimum typing. Uber has modified the app’s performance by detecting popular landmarks in case of low connectivity and if GPS can’t detect user’s location. The app will provide map-on-demand and common destination to make it light and fast. However, it will have security options such as ‘Emergency SOS’ and ‘Share Status’ options. The app is still in the pilot stage and does not include multiple payment methods; for now, just cash payments will get accepted. Moreover, initially, it will be available in Delhi, Jaipur, and Hyderabad.
In a bid to improve user experience in the areas of low connectivity, several startups have launched their Lite versions. Last year, Facebook unveiled its light version, ‘Facebook Lite’ which uses about one-tenth of space of the original app and can be used with older or less processing power smartphones without any glitch. Apart from Facebook, in April 2018, Amazon also launched its light browser for Android devices named Internet with the size of 2MB and compatible with Android 5.0 Marshmallow and above. Most importantly, Uber’s Indian rival, Ola recently launched their Ola Lite app. Thus, the real question is ‘Is lunch of Uber Lite a sincere effort to boost the usership or just a try to keep up with the trend?