by Surabhi Nijhawan

Cab aggregator app Ola has launched a ‘lite’ version of its app. This version will work with the lowest Internet connectivity and is for consumers in tier II and III Indian cities.

The app takes less than 1MB space, loads within seconds and your booking experience remains the same, added the Company. The other details of the app have not been revealed by the company. Note the company does not mention whether it supports Indic languages as many other lite apps do.

Note that Ola also launched its progressive web app (PWA), again aimed at small towns and cities, earlier this year which would provide an app-like experience on a phone’s browser. The PWA consumes only 50 KB data on first payload and 10 KB on subsequent loads.

Shashi adds: It doesn’t make sense for Ola to release a PWA and a lite app considering that both’s purpose is to work on low-end smartphones and reduce data consumption. In terms of usage, the PWA makes more sense as all smartphones have browsers while users have to hunt for the lite app on the app store. This adds more friction to users in small towns as they may not be comfortable with the additional steps involved in downloading the app.

Meanwhile, Ola has introduced features such as offline booking. Recently, the company launched Ola pedal – a public bike sharing app. The app is working in IIT Kanpur and IIT Madras campus and will be in other regions soon. In August 2017, Ola outstation was integrated into the Google maps app. This was in addition to Uber and Meru that were previously integrated with the app. Ola’s categories such as micro and mini were showing in the app too.

Other lite apps

  • Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are some of the companies that have lighter apps.  In July, Facebook messenger lite app was made available in India. It consumes less data and was made for slower Internet connections.
  • MobiKwik, the payments company has a lite weight app available in different Indian languages including Telegu, Punjabi, Tamil, Bengali and Oriya.
  • In January, Lenskart had launched its lightweight app that does not require Internet for shopping.
  • In February, Skype had launched its ‘Lite’ app that works on slower connections and 2G networks. The app also uses Aadhaar ID for user integration.