Twitter has made one last attempt to salvage their user base by introducing Twitter Lite, a smartphone app that will take up less than 1mb of storage, and is data-optimized to function well under limited data connections, something Indian users are familiar with.
The platform’s association with India was reinforced by launching Twitter Lite from India,
Taking an alternate approach as opposed to other social media platforms such as Facebook, who offer the bare minimum in their feed. Instead, Twitter has opted for a browser based Twitter experience on Twitter Lite through mobile.twitter.com.
The microblogging platform justifies the need for Twitter Lite by stating, “While smartphone adoption grew to 3.8 billion connections by the end of 2016, 45% of mobile connections are still on slower 2G networks, according to GSMA.” in an official blog post.
— Twitter India (@TwitterIndia) April 6, 2017
Since the Twitter Lite app takes up less than 1mb of space, and can work on basic internet connectivity, it opens up Twitter to the possibility of bringing in newer users with outdated/less sophisticated smartphones in the market, such as India.
Optimized for speed, Twitter says it may provide “up to 30% faster launch times as well as quicker navigation throughout Twitter.” and reduces data usage by 70%.
— Twitter India (@TwitterIndia) April 6, 2017
Google Chrome will offer a bonus basket of features, and other modern browsers on Android smartphones. Push notifications, Offline Support in case you lose your connection, and users can also add Twitter Lite to their Home Screens, are some of the many perks on offer.
Asia Pacific, Latin America and Africa are the primary territories that Twitter is aiming to focus on.
Twitter Lite supports more than 42 languages from all over the world, including six Indian languages such as Hindi, Bengali, Kannada, Tamil, Gujarati and Marathi.
While most social media platforms are pushing for newer users in developing countries, Twitter is struggling to retain existing users in the countries where it remains popular. Twitter Lite makes sense when put into perspective with Facebook Lite’s success among more than 200 million users that have helped Facebook register up to 1.86 billion users all over the world.
A data saver option on Twitter Lite reduces data usage, and lets users enjoy real time cricketing action with a preview of images and videos enabling users to choose which ones they wish to load and view.
With India expected to breach the 450 million mark in terms of online population by June 2017, and yet Twitter remains unpopular among the Indian social media user base with less than 20% number of users on Twitter, as reported by TechCrunch.
Interestingly, Twitter is also partnering with Vodafone in India to promote Twitter Lite to Vodafone’s 200 million customers as a way to receive Live updates for Sports such as IPL and other tournaments. Twitter Lite was released just in time as the Cricketing carnival in the country is about to begin.
Arvinder Gujral, Senior Director, Business Development, Twitter Asia Pacific, said, “Cricket is one of the most talked about topics in India, and the volume and diversity of conversations with fans, players, commentators and teams is reflected on Twitter. For example, there were over 10.6 million Tweets about the Indian Premier League (IPL) during last year’s T20 season. Through the partnership with Vodafone, we are increasing the accessibility and visibility of Twitter Lite on one of the largest mobile networks in the world. We’re excited to have Vodafone, a brand that shares our passion for cricket, on board to help us reach millions of Indians and unite the nation in the spirit of cricket. This is an innovative example of how we can partner with companies all over the world to make Twitter Lite more useful in people’s daily lives.”
Vodafone users can opt for SMS alert with a link to a specially curated timeline on Twitter Lite to receive live updates from the T20 tournament.
Avneesh Khosla, Executive Vice President, Products & Services, Vodafone India said, “We are happy to partner with Twitter to offer this innovative service to our customers. It will enable our customers to access a selection of curated Twitter content in their areas of interest – first with cricket and more to come across other genres. Throughout the 10th season of IPL, our customers can look forward to enjoying some great content using Twitter Lite on Vodafone SuperNetTM.”
“No matter where you are in the world, we want to make Twitter the best way for you to get real-time updates on news, sports, entertainment, politics, and other topics that matter most to you.” signs off Patrick Traughber, Product Manager at Twitter.
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