In September, Twitter started testing a data-saving version of its mobile app dubbed Twitter Lite, but at the time, it was only limited to the Philippines.
Of course, this restriction only applied to the Google Play Store, but it was easy getting the APK version and sideloading it, at least for the tech-savvy lot. As for the rest, the only other channel is known and apparently, the wait is over for 24 additional countries.
Our neighbors in Tanzania have it and they are joined on the list of African countries by folks in South Africa, Nigeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria. Other locations that can now download Twitter Lite straight from the Google Play Store include Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Israel, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Peru, Panama, Serbia, Thailand and Venezuela.
The idea behind Twitter Lite is that the app will bring the same functionality as the main mobile app, but in a minimized version that consumes less storage space and data. This app perfectly suits markets with slow internet connections, which are also characterized by budget phones that are not so good in terms of performance hardware. Those in the said markets will at least be happy that this app is ready for download, but the wait is still on for those of us in Kenya.
Of course, we don’t expect Twitter Lite to be launched in markets such as the U.S., UK, Germany, France, Finland or Denmark, among other developed markets. This is because these markets have fast internet connections that are able to handle the main Twitter app and more often than not, people there enjoy unlimited data plans. While the U.S. is up on the list of markets that probably won’t see the Lite app, you might want to remember that in June, a report surfaced revealing that Kenya has the 14th fastest mobile internet speed in the world.
As much as I’d like to convince myself that the omission of Kenya from the initial list of markets that can download Twitter Lite is due to this report that puts our internet speeds at 13.7Mbps, I’m pretty sure it’s not. Sooner or later, the app should be available for download via the local Play Store – and we’ll let you know when it does. For now, the only other channel is to get the APK version via the APK Mirror and install it manually.
It’s interesting how Emmanuel and I have had mixed experiences with the Twitter Lite app. I downloaded the app last month and I couldn’t wait for a week to conclude (I had promised myself that I’m going to try it out for a week, so I uninstalled the main version just so that I keep to my word) and get back to the main app. It was buggy, very slow and most of the times I would miss notifications, but again, it was still in beta, which is what you expect when you use an unfinished product.
I’m looking forward to the release of the stable version in Kenya so I can also try it and see anything different, but we still don’t know when this will happen. I hope there won’t be any disappointments, though.