Opera Mini mobile browser relaunches with two compression modes

  • New High-compression mode delivers web pages without affecting page layout
  • Extreme-compression mode still available for slow network or data roaming situations
Opera Mini mobile browser relaunches with two compression modes
NORWEIGIAN developer Opera Software ASA announced the release of the latest version of its popular Opera Mini mobile browser for Android devices, allowing users to now switch between two different data compression modes.

In a statement, the company said the new ‘High-compression’ mode is suitable for devices connected to 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi networks, as it compresses web pages without affecting the way the pages are laid out.

Meanwhile, the ‘Extreme-compression’ mode, which was the only mode available in previous versions, compresses websites more aggressively to deliver web pages using a lot less mobile data.

This mode is useful when the network is slow or if users are on a limited mobile data plan, but the downside is, this mode will affect the original layout of the web pages and may not reflect the design intent of the website.

“With the rise of better smartphones and better network connections our users now want the option to have a less aggressive data compression mode so they can experience the full internet when network conditions allow for it,” said Christian Uribe, product manager of Opera Mini at Opera Software.

Opera Mini’s rise to popularity particularly in markets like India, Indonesia and Vietnam was thanks to the speedy delivery of web pages to tiny screens on feature phones operating on 2.5G (Enhance Data for Global Evolution or EDGE) networks.

As technology advanced and smartphone usage has exploded, users have moved on to the default Android browser or even Google’s own Chrome browser, which deliver web pages the way they were designed.

This new refresh from Opera then puts it on par with these popular smartphone browsers, but maintains that Extreme-compression mode for those times when the network is congested or when one is running low on mobile data credits.
Opera Mini mobile browser relaunches with two compression modes

The difference can be seen when browsing the Facebook site for instance.  Using High-compression mode (pic above), the site delivers more dynamic content and video playback, while in Extreme-compression mode (pic below), the site contains scaled-down images and a simpler interface with less dynamic content.

Opera Mini mobile browser relaunches with two compression modes
The compression technology essentially routes requested webpages through one of Opera’s servers, which then removes any extraneous page elements, reduces image pixels, diagnoses the state of the user’s connection and compresses the downloads, all before sending the page back to the user’s device.

Some of the other features of the revamped browser include:

  • New user interface for saved pages and bookmarks

  • Better handling of bigger downloads in High-compression mode

  • Overhauled tab switch

  • Private-browsing mode

  • Options to customize the browser layout for more thumb-friendly surfing

  • A scalable interface with higher resolution for tablets and large phones

  • Updates to the Discover news feed to provide more of the latest content across the web

  • A data counter to show daily progress on data savings, helping users keep data costs under control

The company believes the Opera Mini update is an important milestone towards its goal of achieving 275 million users on the Android platform by the end of 2017.

Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software said, “Only half of the mobile population in India is connected to 3G networks, while in Indonesia, more than half of all smartphone users experience network problems daily.  People all over the world turn off their phones while travelling, due to fear of data-roaming costs.

As such, he believes Opera Mini is able to provide a way for users to get online in all kinds of conditions, regardless of bandwidth and cost issues.

The updated Opera Mini browser can be downloaded from Google Play store or m.opera.com.

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