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 devices.
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.