- Uber has announced Uber Lite, a lightweight app that’s coming to India.
- The app makes the map optional and introduces several offline features as well.
- Uber Lite will be coming to other countries later this year, but no specific markets were mentioned.
The company says Uber Lite is a native app designed for people with low-end Android phones, limited data plans and/or spotty connectivity. In fact, the new app weighs in at 5MB, which is equivalent to just three selfies, according to the smart cab service.
The core functionality is still here though, such as booking rides (you can still pay in cash if you want) and sharing trips with loved ones. We do see a few tweaks, however. The map is now optional rather than front and center, though you can pull it up with just a tap if you need it. The app will also display a progress bar if you’d prefer to conserve your data by not loading the map.
What else makes it stand out?
Uber says it also caches the top places in your city so you can quickly get suggestions for pickup/drop-off points while offline. The company claims the suggestions will get smarter as you use the app, leading us to wonder whether the app size will balloon after a few months of use. Nevertheless, an Uber representative told Android Authority the plan was to “always keep it under 5MB.”
Upcoming updates will add more languages and the ability to request rides when offline. The latter would presumably work in a similar fashion to Gmail’s offline mode, actually sending the request once you’re online again.
Not in India? Uber says the app is coming to other countries later this year, but refused to name specific markets. However, the company told us it’ll be targeting countries that are similar to India (i.e. similar network conditions and users with low-end Android phones).
You can sign up for the Uber Lite Indian pilot by clicking the button below.