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What does "data-lite" mean in the following context?

This application is:


  • data-lite and saves you money


I couldn't find it online or in the dictionary (OAAD). For more context, I read it in the description of this application.

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Please add a link to source, or some more context – jwpat7 Mar 30 '13 at 17:32
@jwpat7: edited. – Gigili Mar 30 '13 at 19:54

Lite has a dictionary entry:

denoting a low-fat or low-sugar version of a manufactured food or drink product:
   lite beer
   • informal denoting a simpler or less challenging version of a particular thing or person:
      I am the happy feminist who likes men, the feminist lite


"Data-lite" follows the form of "feminist lite" in the example: a product which does not transmit or consume much data. I would guess that the application is something like a mobile phone app where data transmission may be chargeable: being data-lite saves on transmission costs.

["Lite beer" is neither low-fat nor low-sugar, of course, but low-alcohol. Another faulty example in ODO.]

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A light application is one which loads fast, works fast and doesn't use much of the bandwidth. Data-lite, I suppose, is a fancy way of saying that the application is light.

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would be further more appropriate if you add.. works fast and doesn't use much of the system resources or bandwidth.. – Raghav Mar 30 '13 at 18:42
I think more precisely, it means that the application does not store (or perhaps use) a lot of data. – Matt Mar 31 '13 at 0:32

The OED has the following entry for lite:

ORIGIN 1950s: a commercial respelling of light.

The same source defines lite:

• informal denoting a simpler or less challenging version of a particular thing or person: I am the happy feminist who likes men, the feminist lite.

I suspect in your case data-lite would be something that is lightweight and fast as opposed to heavy and slow.

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As others have touched on, the specific meaning of data-lite and saves you money in this instance is that it requires a comparatively small quantity of transmitted data (for an application of its type, one presumes), and therefore will cost you less to run while disconnected from a wifi network and thus consuming mobile data bandwidth. It is a property that I would consider attractive in an smartphone app specification.

Similarly, text-only web browsers were popular in the dial-up days of the 90's and early 00's for the same reason, although often because the time taken to load a webpage which you knew would contain images that you would find irrelevant, such as any cinema's movie listings, would threaten your sanity more than your pocket.

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