Facebook Launches “Lite” Messenger Version For Old Devices

October 26, 2016 - 2 minutes read


Designing for a cross-platform world can be difficult for startup app developers, especially when you consider the severe limitations of “legacy” devices compared to the incredible computing power, memory and storage capacity of the smartphones now considered standard by the US public. Facebook recently launched a standalone app for messenger users on older devices, showing just how tricky it can be to develop for older devices without sacrificing simplicity and speed.

For Facebook — and any other app developer looking to reach the widest audience possible — it’s sometimes best to divide and conquer rather than worry about satisfying everyone in a single app.

For example, the alternative to what Facebook’s doing would have been to simply pare back the main app. Features that aren’t “necessary” could be moved to the back burner without affecting most users. However, there’s a big problem to contend with for any app developer trying to reach modern audiences. That problem is image quality.

Large “phablet” devices with ultra-packed pixels are now the standard for many users, making last-gen graphics unacceptable for users on the latest devices. Unfortunately for app developers, these large images come in large file sizes, which slows down the whole system for devices not designed to handle it.

Short of developing standalone apps, Los Angeles app startups can consider how to segregate their use cases in such a way as to keep high-demand file downloads a step ahead of power users without overloading old devices. It’s easier said than done, but there are workarounds that can deliver different code based on the device being used. (A common trait among browsers, but it takes custom code to do this well when developing a mobile app.)

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