Uber sets sights on emerging markets

Uber has launched a more data-friendly version of its popular ride-sharing app to target emerging markets, starting in India.

Uber Lite is a reduced version of application, which works on any network and any android device, which is only 5MB the equivalent of three selfies. The core functionality of the app has been retained, though many of the bells and whistles (which we try our best to ignore) have been removed during the efficiency mission.

“We continue to see exponential growth outside of the U.S., and are thinking a lot about building for the next hundreds of millions of riders who we hope will choose Uber to get around,” said Shirish Andhare, ‎Head of Product for Emerging Markets. “That’s why today, we’re introducing Uber Lite: built in India, designed for the world. Uber Lite is a simple version of the rider app that saves space, works on any network, and on any Android phone.”

Part of the challenges with the app will be adapted the service for those in areas with spotty connectivity. One solution is for the app to decide where the driver picks you up, with a number of designated pick up points. Popular destinations are also cached, while the team is also boasting about machine learning capabilities which should personalise the service, both of which could streamline the process of booking a ride but the practicalities remain to be seen. The map function has also been removed, which is an interesting idea.

The pilot will be launched over the next couple of months, with new markets being targeted later in the year.

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