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Want to use Facebook’s Messenger app without the processor-intensive features and heavy data suck? Tough luck.
Facebook introduced Messenger Lite late last year so that those in developing countries could enjoy it without a heavy toll on older or less powerful smartphones. For those of us with flagship iOS or Android devices, that’s less of an issue, but using Messenger Lite could offer a different benefit though, in terms of data usage. Unfortunately, many U.S. smartphone owners won’t get that option.
After availability in more than 100 countries globally, Messenger Lite is now available for download in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Ireland. More specifically, Android phone owners can download the app. Messenger Lite eliminates some of the newer and more processor-heavy features in the traditional Facebook Messenger app. It doesn’t include Messenger Day, its Snapchat Stories clone, for example. The app also doesn’t have Messenger’s selfie masks. It does have most other Messenger features, though, such as free calls over Wi-Fi, messaging, and stickers.
Clearly, this is still a play for those who aren’t rolling in dough. The app is ideal for use on an older handset, or if you have limited bandwidth on your data plan. Teens with limited data usage may find it appealing, as could older folks on a budget. In appealing to these users, Facebook is also getting a leg up on its main competitor, Snapchat. Snapchat currently has no lower bandwidth, less computationally intensive alternative available.
If you want to download Messenger Lite, you can head to the Google Play store here.
Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.