Uber is launching a new version of Uber called Uber Lite in India before rolling out elsewhere but it is still in a waitlist form and not in the form of a download link. Uber’s head of rider experience Peter Deng said, “The next hundreds of millions of riders for us are going to come from outside of the United States.”
Uber has become one of the fastest growing transportation giants in the whole world and not just in the United States. But for it to grow in the developing world, they had to rethink how their app would work on oldest phones and slowest networks. So they traveled globally asking people what they needed for Uber to function more properly in their countries and they tried to work on those points and thus Uber Lite came into being.
The new Uber Lite app takes up only 5 MB. It will be a quick hail ride and even the 4% of users in India on 2G networks will be able to hail a ride. India’s very own Ola rideshare service already has a “Lite” app made particularly for slow network connections and Ola already owns a 45% share of the taxi market in India, whereas Uber holds only 35% of it. Uber may already be in talks with Ola about a possible merger in India. To be successful globally, Uber has to start outcompeting homegrown competitors. Uber Lite just may be the answer that they were looking for.
The team has traveled to markets around the world to do in home interviews to understand the needs of the customers. You have to do less typing and can do more tapping. – Peter Deng
Uber Lite is built from the scratch according to Deng. Uber Lite suggests a nearby business or landmark, so it does not launch a map or a text entry box. It also tries to guess the destination based on popular city spots. The app would not load a heavy data map unless the user asks for it. The users, however, would not be able to see the driver’s ETA. Instead, they will get a countdown to their arrival unless, of course, the user taps for the app to show exactly where the driver is on the map. Payment is now cash only but Uber is trying to add the popular Paytm payment methods. The users will still be able to share their ETA with their loved ones as Uber has taken the question of safety as an important segment. So they took an additional step to empathize.