Early this morning, Facebook uploaded a new, slimmed down version of their app dubbed Facebook Lite to the Google Play Store. Aimed at low-end devices in emerging markets where cellular data is a little slower, we have to admit, we were plenty excited at the prospect of a 2G-friendly version of the normally bloated Facebook app.
Soon after installation, our optimism was met with cold hard reality — this app was little more than a wrapper for the mobile web view (ie, it’s nearly identical to visiting m.facebook.com). Okay, so there are some key differences. There’s no videos (like, at all) and unlike opening Facebook in your phone’s web browser, Facebook Lite will provide you with push notifications on your Android device, handy if you’re waiting for an important message and want to keep up with friends without having to refresh the browser.
The trade off? Facebook Lite — which is advertised as less than 1MB (252KB), but actually took up 1.16MB after installation — requests a fair amount of permissions from your Android device, similar to the full fledged 114MB (after installation) regular version of the app (only without the location data). Oh, did we mention it’s slow?
Even on WiFi, the app is slow to load, slow to scroll, and slow to switch between News Feed, your messages, and notifications. Even with a high-end Snapdragon 801 equipped Android device, the “app” straight up feels like molasses. But as we mentioned, you do get direct access to your messages without having to install Facebook Messenger, so there’s that.
We think Facebook really had something here and were really hoping for a quicker, lighter, less feature heavy, Facebook app for those of who don’t need all the frill of sticker stores and the like. Sadly, Facebook Lite really just doesn’t cut it.
Facebook Lite is currently available for all Android 2.2+ devices in Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, or Zimbabwe via the Play Store. Those living elsewhere who’d still like to give it a try, you can download it from us via the link below.
Download: Facebook Lite for Android