Instagram users in more than 170 countries can now download a lite version of the Instagram app from the Google Play Store. The app, called simply Instagram Lite, delivers all essential features the photo and video sharing social network has to offer while using up only 2 MB of storage space.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Instagram users have lost access to high-speed internet networks, forcing them to rely on slow and often expensive mobile data instead. One of these users was Michelle Lourie, who’s also a product manager at Facebook.
Working in Israel, she and her team in Tel Aviv collaborated with a New York-based team to develop a lighter alternative to the Instagram app, one that would work great even on low-end Android devices without any major compromises.
“No matter where they are, people want to be entertained and inspired by those that they love. It’s difficult to do that on Instagram with an entry-level phone that has storage constraints,” said Lourie in a statement. “We wanted the Instagram experience to remain fast, high-quality, and reliable, irrespective of the device, platform, and network people are on,” added Tzach Hadar, Director of Product Management at Facebook Tel Aviv.
After a year of development, Instagram Lite was born. The new app requires users to download only 2 MB of data (the full-size version is approximately 30 MB large), but it offers just about all essential features, including photo and video uploads, creative tools, instant messaging, and more.
Additional features will be introduced in future updates. For example, the app’s developers are already working on a dark mode option after receiving countless requests from early users. For people who live in communal areas and close quarters, it’s really important to browse more privately and not bother those around them,” explained Lourie.
Stripe Enters The Middle East With Its UAE Launch
Stripe will initially only be available to UAE businesses, allowing them to accept online payments, make payouts, mitigate fraud, and attract customers from around the world.
Stripe, a provider of online payment processing for internet business, has finally expanded to the Middle East with its official launch in the United Arab Emirates. The Irish-American company also opened an office in Dubai Internet City, allowing it to be closer to its new customer base.
At first, Stripe will only be available to UAE businesses, allowing them to accept online payments, make payouts, mitigate fraud, and attract customers from around the world.
“The UAE is a thriving hub for technology, supported by strong investor appetite, internet-savvy consumers, and an open, innovative ecosystem of business leaders and entrepreneurs,” said Matt Henderson, EMEA Business Lead at Stripe. “Our launch today also means we can now connect our global user base to the Gulf, enabling them to seamlessly expand their operations in the region.”
Stripe’s entry into the Middle East market comes just weeks after its latest round of funding, which has resulted in the company’s value jumping up to $95 billion and making it one of the most valuable fintech companies in the world.
The UAE is the perfect entry point for the online payment processing provider because the total value of digital payment transactions in the gulf country has doubled in the last two years alone, reaching $18.5 billion in 2020. If the UAE remains on the current growth trajectory, its e-commerce sector is expected to add nearly another $10 billion over the next two years.
Another factor that makes the UAE such an ideal expansion point is the fact that accepting online payments in the country has historically been incredibly challenging. Stripe provides a straightforward setup process and developer-friendly APIs, making it easy for companies of all sizes to improve their online presence.
Last year, Stripe launched in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Malta. The company also expanded into Africa via Nigeria technology startup Paystack. In total, Stripe currently processes hundreds of billions of dollars each year.