Opera Lifts Curtain on Mini Browser

The browser maker has taken geographical restrictions off of a preview of its upcoming Opera Mini mobile application, which promises to work on a wide number of mobile handsets.

Browser maker Opera Software released a final preview of its latest mobile application, dubbed Mini, which promises to deliver improved Web viewing to wireless handsets.

The Norwegian company said Tuesday that it silently lifted a regional restriction it had placed on an advance version of the browser software, which had previously limited downloads to users in Nordic countries and Germany, ahead of Minis expected January launch.

The application claims to deliver a more desktop-like Web experience to any handset capable of running Java-based mobile applications, which includes many popular phones already in the hands of consumers.

Opera spokesman Eskil Sivertsen said the restrictions were removed to help the company test its browsers capacity to prepare for the global launch.

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Along with the final version of Opera Mini, which Sivertsen said could include unspecified alterations, the company also plans to launch a new marketing campaign around the product, which will include a revamped Web site for downloads and device compatibility specifications.

Offered free of charge, Mini was designed as a simplified version of the firms other wireless offering, Opera Mobile Browser, which is designed to run on so-called smart phones, or more sophisticated wireless devices that offer the memory to store and run such applications.

Claiming the ability to run on most Java-capable handsets, Opera Mini promises to deliver the same performance of the Mobile Browser technology to a much wider range of devices.

Company officials maintain that the browser could run on hundreds of millions of existing phones that use WAP (Wireless Access Protocol) to access the Web, giving it a huge potential audience worldwide versus the smaller numbers of customers in the relatively new smart phone sector.

"Most people can get and surf the full Internet on the phone you have today using this, instead of buying an expensive new phone," said Eskil Sivertsen, a spokesman for the Oslo-based company.

"We think there are a lot of people who want to try something like this now instead of waiting for their next phone."

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