Users of Twitter in the Philippines need to struggle to get a working connection anymore. Source: Shutterstock/Jirapong Manustrong

Finally, Internet-challenged Philippines gets Twitter Lite

TWITTER has officially launched the lightweight native app version of its mobile site, Twitter Lite, to the Philippines.

The microblogging giant’s initiative is designed to cater and reach out to millions of potential subscribers in the Southeast Asian nation, many of which still reside in places with very limited Internet connectivity.

The Philippines ranks as one of the countries in the world with the worst broadband internet connections, enjoying just a fraction of the speeds experienced by users in South Korea and Japan. Mobile data is polarized in the country, however, with some areas enjoying great cellular speeds and others barely getting any 3G or 4G LTE signals.

Despite these difficulties in web accessibility, however, the Philippines was declared as the No 1 country in terms of time spent on social media, with Filipinos spending an average of four hours 17 minutes a day on websites and apps such as Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat.

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With this in mind, Twitter’s lightweight app is practically tailor-fit for the Philippines. Due to its low data consumption, it would be attractive to millions of new and existing users, including those who are living in far-flung areas of the country.

Speaking to TechCrunch, a Twitter representative confirmed the lightweight app’s launch in the Southeast Asian nation.

“The test of the Twitter Lite app in the Google Play Store in the Philippines is another opportunity to increase the availability of Twitter in this market. The Philippines market has slow mobile networks and expensive data plans, while mobile devices with limited storage are still very popular there. Twitter Lite helps to overcome these barriers to usage for Twitter in the Philippines.”

Twitter Lite is compatible with devices running Android 5.0 and up. It also includes language support for both English and Filipino. Most importantly, it is optimized to function on 3G and 2G networks without any issues.

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The magic of Twitter Lite is in the way it presents data within the application itself. Just like the conventional Twitter app, Twitter Lite users could access updates, sports scores, and breaking news. Users’ Timelines, Notifications, Explore Tabs and Messages are also fully accessible within the application.

Unlike the traditional Twitter app, however, Twitter Lite enables users to limit the amount of media that is displayed on the device. This restricts the biggest culprits of data consumption in the microblogging platform – images and videos – from eating up valuable memory in mobile devices.

people, smartphone

Twitter users in the Philippines could not previously gain access to the service easily, but there’s now a battery and connection lite version. Source: Shutterstock

These restrictions enable Twitter Lite to consume up to 70 percent less data than the main Twitter mobile application. It also launches 30 percent faster. What’s more, the lightweight application only consumes less than 3MB of internal storage when installed.

Considering that entry-level Android devices with 4GB of storage and 1GB of RAM are still prolific in the Philippines, the storage and data consumption of Twitter Lite would most likely be incredibly effective. Other lightweight social media apps, such as Facebook Lite, are a favorite among Filipino users, after all.

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Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms have been a particularly effective tool for enterprises in the Philippines, many of which dedicate a significant amount of their resources to online campaigns for both marketing and customer service. Even massive corporations such as Cebu Pacific, one of the Philippines’ largest domestic airlines, maintains a strong Twitter and Facebook presence to reach out to customers both for feedback and official announcements. The same is true for other blue-chip companies such as Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI).

Twitter Lite is now available for download in the Google Play Store for Philippine subscribers.