Facebook’s Messenger Lite app is abandoning Android
This app caters to the needs of people with a bad internet connection or low-power phones.
In 2016, Meta (then known as Facebook) found that its Facebook Messenger app was too bloated, especially for users in emerging markets. It eliminated phone storage and required a decent internet connection. So, the company launched Messenger Lite, a smaller version of the Facebook chat app that requires less than 10MB of storage and can work on slower 2G networks. Now the Messenger Lite app is shutting down.
Messenger Lite now warns users to use Messenger to continue chatting. Meta has confirmed to TechCrunch that the Android app will be completely shut down on September 17, although the Facebook Lite app (which has some messenger capabilities) will remain intact. Google’s Play Store no longer offers Messenger Lite and the app was removed from Apple’s App Store in 2020. (Android users who previously used Messenger Lite can re-download the app from the Play Store.) But even if your phone has Messenger Lite, it’ll stop working this September.
In fact, Messenger Lite only gained popularity in the United States. The app was part of a broader trend within the tech industry – smartphones and social media were rapidly entering new markets, such as India. These markets had unique economic needs and limited internet infrastructure, so they needed cheap smartphones and lightweight apps. A year after messenger Lite was launched, Google introduced its Own Android Go platform, accelerating smartphone adoption globally.
Lightweight apps are less than needed these days. But it’s still a shame to see Messenger Light’s death. This app allowed you to enjoy messenger’s basic functionality — chatting with friends or family — and nothing more. Messenger Lite didn’t have a messy, long, complex interface. It was simple, and it wasn’t full of unnecessary features (although video call support was included in 2018). It didn’t even beg consumers to buy one of Meta’s VR headsets or smart displays.
Note that Meta has cut many messenger services this year. It removed Facebook Messenger from the Apple Watch in May and recently announced that SMS support was leaving Messenger. But there’s some good news as well. Facebook Messenger will eventually offer full end-to-end encryption by 2024, ensuring a more private and secure experience for all users.
This isn’t the first time we’ve praised Messenger Lite, though it’s probably the last time. To travel down memory lane, check out our 2017 text of the Messenger Lite app.
Source: Meta via Tech Crunch