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Amazon, Flipkart, and Ola are among a set of digital giants betting on lightweight versions of their mobile apps to take their business to millions of customers in India’s suburban and small towns, overcoming patchy mobile internet connectivity and sluggish data speeds.

Cab hailing service Ola said deployment of Ola Lite which weighs only 1 MB and loads easily even at 2G speeds helped the company grow its business in tier 2 and 3 towns without compromising on the booking experience.

“It makes sense for app developers to invest in creating dedicated light versions of their platform,” Peter Boyland, an analyst at UK speed tester OpenSignal, told ET, pointing at India’s exploding mobile internet and smartphone penetration and lower speed mobile networks in the subcontinent.

Creating lighter versions is often simple, Boyland said, “as it does not require a complete redesigning of the app, but merely a lowering of the resolution on the graphics or video content, or simplifying the navigation".

Online marketplace Amazon India said more than 65% of its orders and a majority of new customer acquisitions “now come from tier 2 and below geographies”, largely propelled by the launch of its 2 MB lightweight mobile app Micron. Its bigger rival Flipkart said its lighter app variant Flipkart Lite was instrumental in solving access problems for consumers in areas with poor mobile network coverage.

An Amazon India spokeswoman said Micron was an India- centric innovation. “India has witnessed mobile adoption on a huge scale but a large percentage of customers still use entry-level smartphones with low data capacities,” she said in an email response to ET. Micron was developed and launched to “address their unique needs and enhance their shopping experience”.


Last modified on Thursday, 26 July 2018