Almost a year since it became available as a standalone native application, Twitter Lite can now be downloaded and installed from the Google Play Store by users in Kenya.
Twitter Lite began its life as a progressive web app which is to say, in simple terms, a rich web page that acts like an app without being an app. There’s a well-detailed explanation here.
Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Zimbabwe join Tanzania, South Africa, Nigeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria, the other African countries that have had access to the app since December last year when it moved out of its trial phase in the Philippines.
As of last year, 80% of Twitter’s then 330 million active users were located outside its home market, the United States. This presents a challenge to the 12-year-old social network since not all users access the platform under optimal conditions and it’s its work to provide a consistent experience across the board.
Twitter Lite is targeted at users of basic smartphones that may be limited when it comes to the amount of resources required and utilized by the main Twitter app as well as those in areas where network connectivity and steep data costs are an issue.
For network connectivity issues, the app is optimized to work just fine on both 2G and 3G networks. For keeping data consumption in check to avoid high utilization of data bundles, the latest version of the app includes some data-saving features which is to say, a toggle that when on, loads tweets without any accompanying multimedia content. Users can then tap the omitted multimedia content in order to load it if they need to. While this is a new addition to the Twitter Lite app, it has been there on the Progressive Web App since day 1.
Next to the data saver toggle is a night mode switch which is new to the app with the latest update. Other features included with the update include the ability to bookmark tweets (you know, since Twitter took away the “Favourite” star and gave us a “Like” heart instead, the bookmark option is the best way to flag tweets for future referencing/reading), save images as well as receive push notifications (this is huge, by the way).
Even better, it’s now possible to post threads using Twitter Lite.
With such a feature set and a total capacity of less than 1 megabyte (Twitter says up to under 3MB), it is not hard to see that the app already has over a million downloads on the Play Store. That is without counting those of us who’ve relied on third-party app stores to get the app prior to its availability in the country yesterday.