India may now be the second-largest smartphone market in the world, but in a country of 1.2 billion people many are still using a 2G connection, making even light-duty apps for e-reading a chore.
Recognising that many Indian readers are struggling with the regular Kindle app Amazon a few days ago introduced the Kindle Lite app, at just 2MB being a comfortable fit on any phone.
This will be a boon especially to the many Indian readers wanting to read in a local language rather than English. The Kindle store currently carries ebooks in Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Marathi and Malayalam.
Gadgets Now reports the app, in beta, is compatible with phones running Android 4.4. and above.
For now the Kindle Lite app is exclusive to India, but I would expect similar apps to be rolled out for Mexico and Brazil soon, where again slow connections and devices make the regular app more trouble than its worth.
Amazon has shown no interest so far in reaching other nascent markets, but a “lite” app like this would be a welcome addition to any ebook operator seeking to have truly global reach, and presumably a relatively simple technical problem to address.
The other problems – having globally accessible content available at glocalised prices and with glocalised payment options – are bigger challenges, but not insurmountable.