Opera Software releases the test version of its mobile Web browser, Opera Mini 5, including a specially designed version for BlackBerry mobile devices.
Opera Software announced the release of Opera Mini 5 beta, the latest update
to the company's Web browser for mobile phones. The fifth-generation version
offers an updated look, Speed Dial bookmarks and tabs. The download is available free of charge via Opera-enabled handsets'
browser, with a specially designed version of Mini 5 beta for BlackBerry
Features include tabbed browsing, which allows users to browse several sites
simultaneously; touch-screen or keypad browsing; a password manager that saves
all passwords for e-mail, social networking sites, online banking and other Websites;
and a feature called Speed Dial, which works like a table of contents of preselected
Internet favorites upon loading the browser. Running on mobile phones that support
Java, the company claims Opera Mini is used by 30 million people, browsing 12
billion Web pages per month.
Jon von Tetzchner, CEO of Opera Software,
said according to the company' s own research, the No. 1 reason people use Opera
Mini is because it is easy. "The idea of navigating the vastness of the Web
from such a small screen can be a daunting leap, which is why we have long
committed to make the browsing experience you are familiar with from your PC
easy to do on your mobile phone," he said. "With new, sleek navigation buttons,
tabbed browsing and Speed Dial bookmarks, you are never more than a click away
from where you want to go on the Web."
Opera Mini 5 is a thin-client application: When users employ it to request a Web
page, that request is sent off to a server farm, where a proxy server receives
the request, renders and reformats it, and then converts it to a format
developed by Opera called Opera Binary Markup Language (OBML). This is then
sent to the Opera Mini client, which displays it on the handset's screen.
Because processing is done on the server, Opera Mini 5 can run on relatively
low-spec phones, the company said, reducing files sizes by up to 90 percent. The mobile
browser now uses the Opera Presto 2.2 rendering engine, bringing its display
capabilities in line with Opera Mobile 9.7 beta and Opera 10 for desktop. The
company said this means that users can take advantage of the same standards support
on Opera Mini 5 as on its desktop cousin. However
Opera said there are a few exceptions: HTML 5 Forms and Web Fonts are not
supported, and the blur effect on text shadows and SMIL animations are also
require asynchronous operations or user interaction once the page has been
loaded are not. Opera also noted that plug-ins, such as Adobe Flash, are not
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.