As the ever popular browser battle wages on all over computers around the world, a mini version, equal to its predecessor in casualties and bloodshed, is going on somewhere just as close to us -- our cell phones.
Developments in mobile browsers are streaking by, and with the anticipation of head honcho Firefox’s contribution -- fittingly code named Fennec (a small fox found in the Sahara desert) -- scheduled for release, it’s only natural for the smaller guys to pull out all the stops. Opera is fully aware of this, and shows just how much they’re able to bring to the table with Opera Mini 4.2 Beta.
Opera's New Hand
Though Opera Mini has already been around for quite a while (certainly longer than the idea of a mobile browser from Mozilla that would surpass the capabilities of Minimo) the upgrades this time around are quite impressive:
* More speed: Speed is definitely a key word in Opera’s latest. With a new server park, Opera users in the United States and the Asia-Pacific region can expect significantly faster page downloads. Opera boasts speed increases of up to 50% in addition to faster load times for users in the rest of the world as their older servers are given a break.
* Video: It's still in the works, but if you have a new Sony Ericsson or Nokia phone, the chance is high that you can take Opera Mini for a spin on m.youtube.com.
* Sync your Notes: The handy Notes functionality from the Opera Desktop Web browser just got more portable through Opera Link. All of your notes are available in Opera Mini directly from the Bookmarks menu.
That sounds like a pretty awesome package, right? And it's all in addition to their existing features which include viewing pages in landscape mode, the ability to search the text within a Web page, upload and download capabilities (on phones with JSR-75), a virtual mouse, power scrolling shortcuts, custom shortcuts and tools and support for Web designers.
Has the Fat Lady Sung?
Without research, many would probably assume the release of Fennec from the ever popular Mozilla would mean the immediate death of every other hopeful mobile browser, but what's important to note is that Fennec isn't supported by the two top dogs in the mobile market: Google and Apple.
After Opera went though all the trouble of beginning to create a version of Opera Mini specifically designed for Apple iPhones, production was ceased after the realization that in doing so, Opera would violate the license agreement in Apple’s software development kit. The sad news of the incompatibility with Opera came to iPhone users as a surprise, and surprises of that nature are never well received.
With the likely intention of avoiding a similar angry uproar, Mozilla has made no bones about not being compatible with Apple or Google Android, and in fact, they've made it clear that they’re currently not going to make working with them a priority.
Like we’ve said before, Mozilla has a huge edge in the browser wars. They’ve got the kind of track record and functionality we like, and we at CMSWire are betting that they’re betting that reputation is going to carry them to a victory.
On the other side of the battlefield, Opera’s strategy this time around with Opera Mini 4.2 was to announce the compatibility with Android back in April, before it was even released by Google. And while being available to Android users may give Opera some advantage over Mozilla, there’s no telling whether it will be enough in the long run.
Interested in taking a look-see? Get the Opera Mini 4.2 beta preview here for free (without overwriting a previous version of Opera) and tell us what you think.