Late last year Amazon launched a minimalist Kindle Lite reading app in India, and now they have followed it with a web browser - one that does not appear to have been developed by the same team as the Silk web browser.
The app first appeared on the Play Store in March, and has fewer than 1,000 downloads, according to data from app store intelligence firm Sensor Tower.
It’s only available to users in India for the time being, and is supported on devices running Android 5.0 or higher.
Like most “lite” apps, the new browser is a small download – it’s under 2 MB in size.
The browser’s Google Play description also notes that it’s “private,” as it doesn’t ask for extra permissions or collect private data like other browsers do. This seems to indicate that it’s meant to be something of a competitor to other private mobile browsers, like Firefox, which blocks website trackers.
The browser additionally supports Private tabs, so you can browse without saving visits to your history, plus other features like tab previews, an automatic fullscreen 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. 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 – the most popular sport in India.
You can find the app in Google Play.
I spent a few minutes trying to download the app. I have so far failed to download it from either Google Play or one of the third-party download-helpers.
If you succeed in downloading it, please let us know what you think.
Amazon is far from the first to build lite mobile apps as compliments to its bloated standard apps.
Google, for example, has released a suite of lightweight versions of its apps under its“Go” brand. Some of the apps (Gmail Go) are only available pre-installed on specific phones while others like YouTube Go, Files Go, Google Go, Google Maps, and Google Assistant Go are available in Google Play and can be downloaded by anyone.
Also, Facebook offers lightweight mobile apps, including Facebook Lite.
These apps were developed for users in merging markets, but let's be honest: first world users need them, too. I live in Northern VA, and about half the time I am stuck on a 2G network because that is the only signal I can find.