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Monday, July 30, 2012

The fast and efficient Opera Mini mobile browser

Have you ever cared what browser you’re using on your phone? Most of us would usually stick to whatever default browser the phone came with and use that for all our browsing. Did you know your browser could have played a key role in reducing your phone’s data usage and thereby reducing your bill?

I too didn’t care much about the mobile browsers till recent times. I was using blackberry’s built in browser earlier, when I was using a bb. Eventually, my need for mobile browsing came down heavily as I was not on the move much. So I discontinued blackberry and shifted to a cheaper phone. Recently I had an opportunity of learning a bit more about mobile browsers, from none other than the leaders in the space- Opera Software.

Unless you’re a geek, you might not have used Opera’s web browser on your desktop/notebook. But then, you would have heard of Opera Mini browser for mobile phones. Opera Mini is a popular mobile browser you should try if you haven’t.

There’re two prime reasons why it is worth using Opera Mini. First and foremost reason is its ability to compress data and thereby saving money on internet bill. Native browsers download a web page as it is. (opening facebook.com consumes 450-600KB under normal circumstances). Just calculate the amount you’ll have to cough up for this kind of usage. Opera mini compresses the site heavily (under 100kb for facebook.com). Compression happens at Opera’s server side and hence the pages load faster, consume less data and thus you pay less. The savings may not be significant if you have an unlimited package back home, but they are phenomenal if you’re on international roaming. You won’t have to spend a bomb just to locate nearest ATM or restaurant. Browser comes with a  meter which tells us how much data is compressed.

The secondary advantage of faster browser is reduced usage of your phone’s processor and thereby longer battery life. Most of the smartphones consume lot of power and can’t survive for couple of days without recharge. While on travel, you don’t want your smart phone to go dry by noon.

Opera mini is platform independent. It will work on your BB, iPhone, android and even the java based mobiles. I tried Opera mini on my Samsung phone, it appeared to be well organized. Saving a page, bookmarking etc were easier than what I was used to in the blackberry.

Unless facebook or google, opera doesn’t capture your personal data for commercial exploitation. User needn’t sign in to use a browser, so Opera won’t know your age, gender, email ID and half a dozen other things which you’d disclose to other browsers/apps when you register and sign in. Opera’s advertising will be based on location and devise alone. Also opera doesn’t have any motive to keep you restricted into specific platform etc.

Opera is a Oslo (Norway) based company and has a presence in India. They are taking feedback from Indian users and will incorporate into the product as appropriate. I had a big question how browser companies make money. (For Microsoft or Google browsers needn’t make money, since they serve as a platform for other services offered  by these giants. But opera software is focused primarily on  browser and their revenue comes from advertising and partnerships. Opera is also setting up an app store. At present mobile internet market may not be too matured and profitable, but in the years to come, internet on mobile could be the prime source of connectivity. With a strong foundation, Opera appears to be well positioned to cater the market as it grows. Lots of smartphones now come with Opera mini pre-installed, operators like Airtel have tied up with Opera for mutual benefits.

Now you know it is not without reason that over 200 million peope use Opera worldwide. Do try it out if you haven’t. Opera has its own Appstore. Check www.opera.com/travel. for travel related tips, go to m.opera.com to download the mobile browser

8 comments :

Shiana Agarwal said...

Excellent write-up…

saadepunjab.com

Nisha said...

Can you connect me to some person from Opera? I have Opera mini on my cell since quite a few months, but it doesn't seem to work. Maybe I need a demo or some help?

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Nisha, Sure

sibin xavier said...

Nice and well explained post about Opera Browser.Opera mini is the first browser i used on my Mobile.I have only a Java phone , sp Firefox ,chrome doesn't work on it.Opera mini became popular because of the wide device support.

Opera for Desktop is also good , but it has only few users , but i feel it as good web browser , may be better than others.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks for your comments Sibin

Sankara Subramanian C said...

Opera is a good browser. I have it on my android and it is pretty fast and has some amazing features. However, it is known to crash quite a few times. In fact, I have seen it crashing at least a 100 times.

Now, I am a big user of browsing on the phone. Hence, for such reasons, I keep multiple browsers loaded on my phone.

Look at the dolphin HD browser. it may not reduce your internet data bill, but it sure is fast and provides all the features of opera mini and more.

Reg data cost, aren't we seeing a huge dip in data costs? Today, most service providers offer 1 GB 3G for 200rs a month!!

ವಿ.ರಾ.ಹೆ. said...

One more interesting thing in Opera mini browser is, it supports Indian language fonts. This is one of the main reason for its wide usage in India.

To enable Indian fonts, following settings to be done in Opera mini
1) Download and install Opera Mini http://m.opera.com/
2) Open Opera Mini browser, enter opera:config in the address bar (without www or http).
You will be taken to advanced configuration page of operamini.

3) Change "Use bitmap fonts for complex scripts" option to YES, and Save.

:)

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Vi ra he: Thanks. I missed on local language aspects.

Sankara: Thanks for sharing your observation. Yes, data costs are coming down and there're unlimited plans. Still speed is not up to expectation. Also if you're on roaming, costs are too much