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Facebook Messenger for Android to receive less-extensive rewrite

Facebook says it will bring "key elements" of its iOS Messenger refresh to the Android platform, but didn't specify which.

Published onMarch 3, 2020

facebook messenger app icon

Facebook completely overhauled Facebook Messenger for the iOS platform this week. While the company does plan to retouch Messenger for Android, the world’s most popular mobile operating system won’t receive the same extensively rewritten app that iOS did.

“Our goal is to build for the unique strengths of each platform,” said a Facebook spokesperson to Android Authority via email.

Facebook basically rewrote the entire Messenger codebase for Apple’s iOS platform. The goal, said Facebook, was to create a smaller, faster, simpler application that loads twice as quickly and takes up less space on the phone. Facebook distilled Messenger’s code by a massive 84% and retooled the feature list to fit the simpler build. The company did this through a project it calls Project LightSpeed. Importantly, Facebook claims this new mobile app for iOS users also puts down the bedrock that the company will use to anchor its future private messaging services.

A Lite-r touch

Unlike the iOS mobile app, Messenger for Android will see Facebook following a different path. “We don’t plan to take the same exact approach as iOS, as we’ve had a Messenger Lite app on Android for years,” said Facebook to Android Authority.

It varies per device, but Facebook Messenger for Android weighs in at about 225MB. That’s a lot of storage space for a messaging app. Facebook Messenger Lite for Android, by way of comparison, is much, much smaller at 8MB. The Lite variant of Messenger is typically recommended for those using low-cost devices, or those who live in areas with scattered or inconsistent cellular coverage.

“We do plan to bring in key elements from Project LightSpeed (e.g., building in a reusable way, creating a new server framework) to further improve reliability and performance for our Android users,” said the company.

What’s missing from this picture are the nitty gritty details. Facebook has yet to share the actual feature list and time table for delivering this renewed version of Facebook Messenger to Android users. We look forward to seeing what Facebook has in store.

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