Mobile Web Browser Wars Heat Up With Addition Of Revised Opera Mini - InformationWeek

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6/19/2007
11:25 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Mobile Web Browser Wars Heat Up With Addition Of Revised Opera Mini

Unlike the regular Web browsers (you know, IE, Firefox, Safari), mobile Web browsers aren't really in a pitched "war" for market share. I say it's high time they had a war of their very own, though, and Opera is firing the first shot with its newly revised Mini 4 Web browser. Does Opera sing high notes, or fall flat?

Unlike the regular Web browsers (you know, IE, Firefox, Safari), mobile Web browsers aren't really in a pitched "war" for market share. I say it's high time they had a war of their very own, though, and Opera is firing the first shot with its newly revised Mini 4 Web browser. Does Opera sing high notes, or fall flat?I think we can all agree that browsing the Web on mobile devices is a frustrating experience at best. Most phones lack full HTML browsers and are stuck with WAP browsers to view mobile Web pages. While WAP certainly offers a streamlined browsing experience, it isn't exactly rich and detailed.

Opera has long offered mobile phone users an alternative, Opera Mini. The current version, 3.1, has been a solid mobile browser for some time. Rather than waiting for the end of the first act to make an appearance, Opera's Mini 4 already is taking the stage in beta form. The newly rewritten browser offers a host of features for improved browsing.

First and foremost is sheer speed. It is a fast, fast browser. Web pages load quicker, and smaller, than on other browsers. This helps keep costs down for those who pay by the kilobyte for their wireless data.

It also has a virtual mouse that you can zoom around the screen. It automatically snaps to links to make selecting them easier. Opera built in a scrolling feature as well, which is used by pressing the "4" or "6" keys on the phone to go left or right, and the "2" and "8" keys to go up and down.

One feature that has been seen before is the preview feature. Similar to the Symbian S60 browser used on Nokia smartphones, Opera Mini 4 lets you preview the entire page and select which portion of it you'd like to read. This is very helpful in speeding up page navigation, especially on larger Web pages.

It is browsers such as Opera Mini 4 and the Safari browser on the iPhone that will show people that there's a lot more to the mobile Internet than the WAP version they are used to. In fact, there just might be a whole new battle in the mobile space, and that would be great for the mobile industry.

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