After years of experience playing the underdog to Microsoft and Mozilla, and producing some of the lightest and fastest browsers around, Opera is seeing great success in the mobile market. Opera markets two browsers in the mobile realm: Opera Mobile (a more traditional, full featured browser) and Opera Mini, a lightweight browser which uses java to deliver precompressed content with requests and compression being handled by Opera's servers.
When it comes to Opera Mini, one hot market is for the T-Mobile's G1 – which runs Google's Android OS -- and other upcoming Android phones. After thorough beta testing, Opera has released Opera Mini 4.2, specially crafted to work well with Android phones. The new edition of the browser includes many features suggested by users during the beta process and implemented late in the development cycle.
The browser can now upload and download content including web pages and images to the phone's SD memory card interface via added support for the JSR-75 (File API) standard. Video is now also supported by a handoff to the OS's dedicated video player. Inline URL entry and full double tap zoom/unzoom are also now available.
The trackball and fonts were also tweaked and passwords made easier to enter. The team also patched up a number of bugs and glitches in the betas. Opera's Thomas Ford states, "We focused on the top issues that Android users reported. The experience should be much better and we invite them to try it."
At CES, DailyTech spoke with Opera's U.S. Communications Manager, Ted Miller and other Opera managers and discussed the mini browser and suggestions for improvement. It’s good to see that many of these suggestions, such as video support, improvements in text entry, and zooming are being implemented on the G1.
That brings the promise that the release will bring similar improvements to the Blackberry Storm, the platform discussed at CES. While not specially supported by Opera yet (though Opera does claim general Blackberry support), the betas of the 4.2 mini browser worked well on the phone, which has risen to relative popularity despite issues.
Don't expect to see Opera Mini on the iPhone anytime soon, though. Apple recently allowed third party browsers, but they have to be built on Apple's Safari webkit, something you can't expect anytime soon out of Opera or other major independent web browser makers.
The browser can be found here.