As Instagram hits a milestone during the month of June, acquiring their one billionth user on the free social media app (up 200 million from previous reports), I believe it is also worth mentioning the release of Instagram Lite. The "lite" app, as they call it, is a slimmed down version for Android only. According to Instagram, the release of the slimmed down app targets a specific and weird-worded demographic. In a statement, it was their take on targeting "emerging marketings." Still maintaining its free sign-in feature, the intended demographic described by Instagram is just a fancy way of saying that they are targeting the poverty stricken communities. Often untapped and under-appreciated, I do think the intentions are fair. I also believe the "lite" app is a two prong win for the Facebook owned tech company and for those affected by poverty and other social impaired issues.

The original Instagram app on the Android market comes in with a size average of 32 megabytes. The slimmed down version weighs in around 573 kilobytes, or, also described as, 1/55th the size of the original app, allowing users of every model Android device the opportunity to curate and contribute to the social conversation. The idea behind lite apps is that users will likely rely on the dieted hardware that consumes less storage than the latest Android device requires. The company also has a unique tradition of creating stand alone applications for each of its features.

In 2016 it was mentioned that 80 percent of all global smartphones sales were android devices, leading the global market in overall smartphone sales. Three out of four active smartphones in use, as of November of 2017, were Android devices, with Samsung, being the most popular among them with a market share of 37 percent. OPPO, another Asian brand, is the second best performer with 11 percent of the Android users, followed by Huawei, consuming 10 percent of the Android user base. Pricing between the high end devices, such as Google’s Pixel and Samsung Galaxy’s series, almost matches Apple’s iPhone pricing at $1000, while leaving the rest of the market share to another 38 percent gap of Android users, with devices retail priced between $70 to $500.

In 2014, a map of smartphone users, through 280 million individual posts via Twitter, showed a depressing divide in America, using the New York metro area as a sample size:

  • Tweets from Manhattan, where the yearly median income is $67K, tend to skew in favor of iPhones.
  • Tweets coming from Newark, New Jersey, where the medium income is $17K, index more heavily from Android devices.  
This data allows us a unique outlook on the economic sample size of smartphone users, using racial disparity within technology usage. It’s easy to conclude, based on the sampled evidence provided, that wealth has a direct relationship with technology being used among iPhones users, while the poverty stricken neighbors right across the bridge is left without a choice in the matter based on their income standards by using Android devices. Evidence of the wealth disparity between Android and iOS users is backed by evidence between blacks and Hispanic American wealth gap compared to their white counterparts. 20 percent of American Instagram users make up part of that one billion users estimating at a 77.6 million Instagram base from the United States. There is another, if not, already, 40.6 million Americans living under the poverty line who will potentially contribute to the already 95 million daily posts on the application, including the 4.2 billion daily likes it receives.

Among the adults using social media, but specifically on Instagram, are those who make less than $30K a year. With a combination of users it’s heavily skewed to younger Americans between the ages of 18 to 29, comprising 59 percent of current users in the U.S who makes the least amongst its users, giving blacks and Latinos a 72 percent make up the American user base — the two largest contributors and influences of culture and social issues on the app.

Given all the information above, I can state with ease that the reduction in size of the app puts Instagram into a unique position to acquire, let alone in America, another possible 50 million users by 2020, dependent on economic growth. Black and latinos are proportionality poorer their white counterparts. Therefore, to be more inclined to begin, or, for a short time, chose, an Android device will add to the already building user base of Instagram and to the success of the application.