A software engineer, Gabriel Duke, has urged other software engineers to develop data-light applications (apps) suitable
for African online space.
Duke, the CEO of an Abuja-based IT firm, made the call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Thursday.
He said that the major challenge facing developers was how to make their app data-light and worthwhile for users with low internet
speed and intermittent connections in a continent like Africa.
He added that “developers can optimize apps to address specific needs of low internet speed, poor connections to meet the needs of web users
in Nigeria and on the African soil.”
The engineer explained that the online and data space of Nigeria and Africa as a whole was still developing and as such developing data-light
apps were very important.
He said major technology companies had rolled out “lighter” versions of apps to specifically target developing markets with low bandwidth challenges.
According to him, Google is already leading the way in aligning its Android apps to fit entry-level devices being used in emerging markets like Africa.
He noted that data-light apps would ensure less mobile data use, as less device space would be needed to store app.
Duke said Android was the most popular smartphone used in developing world, with over two billion users, adding that
“by reducing the size of google Android apps, Google is now able to reach a whole new generation of users with fairly low-end devices.’’
He, therefore, encouraged other tech companies to emulate major companies who rolled out “lighter” versions of apps to specifically target
developing markets with low bandwidth challenges.
The CEO said “TikTok, a short-form video app, has seen huge widespread growth thanks to the launch of its “TikTok Lite” app.
Since its debut in August last year, TikTok’s lite version has reached five million installs in primarily developing Asian markets.
“ We also have Relay, a social app for staying connected to local communities, which has become hugely popular around Africa, particularly
Burundi, DR Congo and Kenya, because it allows users to stay connected even when offline.
markets are not uncommon.”
He added that apps with reduced data dependency could work offline. “and that will ensure huge market penetration.”
Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu