Amazon, the largest e-commerce market has quietly launched an Android web browser app for emerging markets, where access to mobile data and high-speed connectivity is now has become more limited. The browser has been named as: “Internet: fast, lite and private” on Google Play, and promises to be “lighter than the competition in the market as of Opera, Chrome.”
It’s only available to users in India for the time being and is supported on devices running on the Android version 5.0 or higher.
Like most “lite” apps, the new browser is a small download — it’s less than 2 MB in size. That’s much smaller than other browsers, which includes Chrome (21MB), MicrosoftEdge (54.5MB), Firefox (19.9MB) and Opera (14.7MB), according to a report.
The browser’s Google Play description also notes that it’s “private,” as it doesn’t ask for permissions or collect private data as like most of the browsers do nowadays. The browser additionally supports Private tabs, so that users can browse without saving visits to your history, plus some of the other features like tab previews, an automatic full-screen mode and integrated news reader of sorts.
In fact, the news reading experience is another telling indication that the browser is only meant for Indian users as of now. The app’s description notes the browser homepage is designed to keep you up-to-date with news, cricket, and entertainment from top sources. Yep, cricket — which is the most popular watched and played sport in India.
Moreover, of a new browser, Amazon also offers a Kindle Lite application in India.
The company is not alone in building lightweight mobile apps for emerging markets. Facebook also offers “lite” versions of its applications, like Facebook Lite and Messenger Lite, to reach users with limited connectivity across India. Google has also rolled out a suite of lightweight mobile apps with the help of a “Go” branding. Some of these, like Gmail Go, only come pre-installed on some of the selected devices.
It is interesting, however, that Amazon didn’t adopt a similar strategy by offering a “lite” version of its existing Silk browser, but has instead built something which is new and trending.