If you go to the Google Play store, you’ll see that there’s a new Instagram app. Instagram Lite is a smaller and more efficient version of the popular social media app and is the most recent in many ‘lite’ versions on the market. Facebook and Facebook Messenger now have lite versions, as does rideshare app, Uber.
The new version of Instagram was released without announcement or fanfare, with Instagram not even fronting the press or issuing a generic release. Why? Because this app isn’t designed for western audiences who have access to phones with massive storage and don’t need to pick and choose between which applications to download and which to delete. It’s built for countries without significant mobile infrastructure or those who have a large percentage of the population below the poverty line. People in these countries, who have phones with smaller storage, have to make decisions as to which social media apps to have on their devices. While this is often chosen by social groups (if your friends use Facebook then you will too) it’s how these decisions are made that is spurring on lite applications. Often, the selection is dictated by what can be accessed and the implications of that decision. In other words, if having Instagram on your phone means you can’t have anything else, then use Facebook. The same is true for Uber; people aren’t going to download and delete an app everytime they need a ride; the fact Uber sits in the background until it’s needed is part of the appeal.
As the western world becomes more sophisticated and saturated, publically listed businesses still need to keep shareholders happy by demonstrating growth. This can no longer be achieved by targeting the United States only, and as a result, less technologically advanced countries have become the target. Of course, if you’ve got an old iPhone, the lite versions will benefit you also.