August 24, 2010

Opera Browser for Mobile Phones

When a user browses the web using Opera Mini, ...
Image via Wikipedia

Opera Mobile is a web browser for smartphones and personal digital assistants (PDAs)
developed by the Opera Software company. The first version of Opera Mobile was
released in 2000 for the Psion Series 7 and netBook. Today, Opera Mobile is
available for a variety of devices that run Windows Mobile, or S60 and UIQ user
interfaces of the Symbian operating system.

Opera Mobile can dynamically reformat Web pages for narrow tall screens, using
Opera's Small Screen Rendering (SSR) technology. The technology itself is
proprietary, but Web page authors can affect how their content is handled by SSR
with Cascading Style Sheets.

Opera Mobile supports many web standards, as well as Ajax.

Opera Mini is a web browser designed primarily for mobile phones, but also for smartphones and personal digital assistants. It uses the Java ME platform and
consequently requires that the mobile device be capable of running Java ME
applications. Opera Mini is offered free of charge, supported through a
partnership between its developer, the Opera Software company, and the search
engine company Google.

Opera Mini was derived from the Opera web browser for personal computers, which
has been publicly available since 1996. Opera Mini began as a pilot project in
2005. After limited releases in Europe, it was officially launched worldwide on
January 24, 2006.

Opera Mini requests web pages through the Opera Software company's servers,
which process and compress them before relaying the pages back to the mobile
phone. This compression process makes transfer time about two to three times
faster, and the pre-processing smoothes compatibility with web pages not
designed for mobile phones.

About 40 million mobile phones have shipped with a copy of Opera Mini
pre-installed. Opera Mini's overall market share compared with other web
browsers, both desktop and mobile, is about 0.06%. Opera Mini is the second most
used mobile browser with a market share of 9.11%.

In August 15, 2009 Opera Software presented the next generation of the product:
Opera Mini 5.0 beta. The new version included tabs browsing, better support of
Password Manager using touch screen, and a brand new interface.

Opera Mini was derived from the Opera web browser for personal computers, which
has been publicly available since 1996. Opera Mini was originally designed for
mobile phones that would ordinarily be incapable of running a web browser. It
was first introduced on August 10, 2005 as a pilot project in cooperation with
the Norwegian television station TV 2. At that time, Opera Mini was only
available to TV 2 customers.

A beta version was made available in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland on
October 20, 2005. After the final version was launched in Germany on November
10, 2005, and quietly released to all countries through the Opera Mini website
in December, the browser was officially launched worldwide on January 24, 2006.

On May 3, 2006 Opera Mini 2.0 was released. It included new features such as the
ability to download files, new custom skins, additional search engine options on
the built-in search bar, a speed dial feature, and new search engines, and
improved navigation.

On November 1, 2006 Opera Mini 3 beta introduced secure browsing, RSS feeds,
photo uploading and content folding into its list of features and capabilities.
Content folding works by folding long lists such as navigation bars into a
single line that can be expanded as needed. A second beta was released on
November 22, and on November 28, the final version of Opera Mini 3 was released.

November 7, 2007 saw the release of Opera Mini 4. According to Johan Schön,
technical lead of Opera Mini development, "the entire code" was rewritten. Opera
Mini 4 includes the ability to view web pages similar to a desktop based browser
by introducing Overview and Zoom functions, as well as a landscape view setting.
In Overview mode, the user can scroll a zoomed out version of certain web pages.
Using a built-in mouse cursor, the user can zoom into a portion of the page to
provide a clearer view; this is similar to the functionality of Opera's
Nintendo-based web browsers. This version also includes the ability to sync with
the personal computer edition of Opera.

Prior to Opera Mini 4, the browser was offered in two editions: Opera Mini
Advanced for high-memory MIDP 2 phones, and Opera Mini Basic for low-memory MIDP
1 phones. Opera Mini 4 has now taken the place of Opera Mini Advanced. The older
Opera Mini 3 Basic is still available for low-memory phones.

Originally, Google was the default search engine on Opera Mini. However, on
January 8, 2007, Opera Software and Yahoo! announced that a partnership to make
Yahoo! search the default instead. But on February 27, 2008, Opera Software
officially announced that Opera Mini's and Opera Mobile's default search engine
would return to Google from Yahoo!. This can be seen as a response to complaints
from users of these mobile web browsers, that found the Yahoo! OneSearch service
confusing and complex to use, contrasting then with the ease of use and
simplicity of Google.

It was published in the New York Times on October 27, 2008 that an iPhone client
has been developed but that Apple won’t let the company release it because it
competes with their own browser Safari.

On April 10, 2008 it was announced that a version had been produced for the
Google Android operating system. Rather than developing a new version for
Android, this was accomplished by creating a wrapper to translate Java ME API
calls to Android API calls.

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