Архив метки: Opera Mobile

As Facebook Rumors Swirl, Opera Plays Up Its Social Cred In New Opera Mini 7 Browser For ‘Basic’ Phones

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Talk about coincidence. Just earlier this week, in a post on Facebook and the possibility of buying web browsing company Opera and facial recognition company Face.com, we highlighted how a new version of Opera Mini would feature much stronger social integration — specifically aimed at the feature phone segment — both key points for Facebook. Today, Opera came good with a full release of that Opera Mini browser, Opera Mini 7 (but still has no official comment on those acquisition reports).

As expected, the new browser is aimed not at Apple and Android-based smartphones but more “basic” devices — specifically those built on Java ME, Nokia’s S60 and BlackBerry (yes, Opera categorizes RIM’s smartphone as basic). Opera is using the release to incorporate some new, key social features on a new Smart Page to increase the time spent by users on its own pages and in its browser.

The Smart Page contains several new features that are all about social browsing. For starters, it provides a one-page summary of news from a user’s Facebook and Twitter feeds, directly from the home page of the browser. Other features include links to a user’s most-visited sites; links to relevant content based on your browsing history; and suggestions for news sites to follow with the option of adding those to the Smart Page as well. The Smart Page will now also include other features Opera has long been using in past versions of its Opera browser such as Speed Dial shortcuts.

An Opera spokesperson declined to make any comment to me on the Facebook acquisition reports, but if there is even a shred of truth to them, a launch of a product like this plays right into Facebook’s hand.

Not only is the browser much more socially integrated, but it is aimed very much at the wider market of non-smartphone users, the kind used by the majority of people in developing markets, and still widely in use in mature markets, too. This is still a growing area for Facebook and a crucial one to get right as it looks to keep growing while at the same time make money out of those traditionally low-cost users.

Opera has been trialling this new version of Opera Mini since February. Opera Mini is the company’s most popular product, with 168 million monthly users and some 3,000 phone models supported. Overall the company has 250 million monthly users of its products, which also include Opera Mobile and a  browser for desktop computers.

Opera has long touted its data technology, which it says compresses pages in such a way that they load faster and take up less of your data allowance — Opera says it can compress page data by up to 90 percent.

The new launch of Opera Mini 7 fits into this concept: users need to browse less pages to get all the data they need. And given that it’s designed for phones that have little buttons and typically smaller screens, anything that minimizes navigation should be welcome.

On Opera’s side, of course, putting all this into its browser means people will spend more time there and less time going elsewhere. (Sound familiar, Facebook?)

Curiously, it looks like the germination of this product may have come straight from the top ranks, with the CEO Lars Boilesen noting his frustrations with his own (feature?) phone: “I’ve spent hours typing web addresses on my mobile phone, but now there’s a super smart way to get most of your content at a glance,” he said in a statement.


As Facebook Rumors Swirl, Opera Plays Up Its Social Cred In New Opera Mini 7 Browser For ‘Basic’ Phones

Opera Mini 7 For Android Out Today: A Fightback For Web Browser Leadership?

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Earlier this month, Opera and Android briefly made headlines together when one analytics firm found that Google’s OS, Android, had finally overtaken Opera as the world’s largest mobile browser. Today, the two are in the news again for a slightly different reason: Opera is releasing the newest version of its popular (and free) Opera Mini and Opera Mobile browsers with added camera, HTML5 and 3D graphics support — one way for Opera to claw back some share on Android, currently the biggest smartphone platform in the world.

The new version of the browser is something that Opera had hinted was in the works back in February, when it announced deals to further its reach in the area of mobile payments. As with that news, today’s release is another example of how mobile browser developers are looking to add more features to make their products more like native platform experiences. The release comes at the same time that Opera has also released a new edition of its browser for Symbian.

Opera’s title as the world’s largest browser has partly been because it was an early mover and works across a range of feature-phone and smartphone platforms. It says that it is currently used by some 160 million people worldwide. Given that Android is now the biggest smartphone platform around and able to gain ground on Opera simply through that market share, it was essential for Opera to update and go one step further than it had before.

New features include the ability to create an unlimited number of bookmarks (“Speed Dials”) to quickly go to your favorite URLs — before there had been a limit of nine. This new version of Opera Mobile now also includes camera support, as well as better support for HTML5 sites’ functionality through its Ragnarök technology. It is also adding WebGL support, for 3D functionality. WebGL is used in the development of cross-platform games.

Opera has long said that one of its strongest points against other browsers — and platforms’ native clients — is its page compression technology, which improves the speed of browsing on the mobile web. In the new version of Opera Mini, it’s taking that one step further and claiming that it’s actually cheaper to use it than its competition because it compresses web pages up to 90 percent. Other improvements, it says, include faster panning around sites.

Ironically, the most up-to-date figures from StatCounter, the company that said Android had overtaken Opera, show that, in fact, Opera Mini is back on top over Android as the world’s most popular browser. The fact that the rankings change so frequently point to how important it is to keep innovating on features to keep users loyal.


Opera Mini 7 For Android Out Today: A Fightback For Web Browser Leadership?