Tag Archive | "opera"

Opera Mobile 9.5 to Elevate Smartphones into MID territory?

I just blogged that 88% of my mobile device usage is with a browser. I dare say that if I had a device that was fast enough, had a good enough touchscreen and offered a real, http-based client browser then i’d be happy. Indeed, my own ideal device specifications from Feb 2006 run along those lines with the definition being open to any processing platform as long as it delivers a quality Internet experience.

This is the reason that I’m very interested in seeing how good Opera Mobile 9.5 is on the ARM Smartphone platforms. If it’s good enough its going to elevate big-screen smartphones into devices that I’d consider alongside an Intel MID. Take the iPaq 210/214 for example. Its only got a VGA touchscreen and no 3G but with Opera Mobile 9.5 it really could satisfy a lot of peoples mobile Internet requirements for a Nokia N810-beating price.

Matt Miller of ‘The Mobile Gadgeteer’ says Opera 9.5 is the ‘Best mobile browser I’ve ever used.’ and that it ‘provides more functionality than the rather revolutionary Apple iPhone browser.’ I say that this browser will make many people think twice about buying a MID because it not only looks and reacts well but its got some very nice advanced features. But there are clearly limitations. Google Docs didn’t work in Matts test which, although you may not use Google docs, should be a concern if you depend on complex sites like Meebo, iGoogle, Facebook etc. Flash-Lite is included which is good but how are other media types presented and supported? How fast can it render the full-fat Google Reader webpage? I know it takes a low-power PC about 15 seconds to render my Google Reader page. Any smartphone on the market today is going to have trouble doing that in under 25 seconds.

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Opera Mini 4.1 upgrade brings noticeable improvements.

operamini Opera Mini usage overtook use of the slow S60 browser on my N82 a long time ago due to its easy to use features and the way it renders pages but mostly, because of it’s speed. It uses a man-in-the-middle server to provide cached and optimised versions of pages that are transmitted using proprietary technology, not HTTP, to the client. Its not perfect but it works well for the average ‘browsing’ session. Version 4.1 has just been released and it brings a feature that I was missing from the S60 browser – URL history. It’s also a little faster although not that you’d really notice it in general use. I’d love to have a version of this for Windows so that I could run it on a ultra mobile PC if data usage was tight (when roaming for example) or when I’m in a fringe area and down to GPRS speeds but alas, its not available. Why don’t they build that feature into Opera desktop? It would be great to switch into proxied mode when needed.

jkOnTheRun have a list of the other new features which include web page saving (again, something I was using on the S60 browser) and more. If you want to upgrade your phone, point it to http://www.operamini.com/

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