Opera Mini Lowers Browser-Based Barriers to Entry

3 minute read
Angela Natividad avatar
Opera Mini Dimension's newest release hits beta June 19, and if you're a mobile user with some savvy, you've got reason to express your fine fuzzy feelings. That is, unless your carrier is Verizon Wireless. Then, well, no Opera for you.v3.1.2, which hit Opera download servers last Monday, is a comparatively minor update to 3.1.1. Most changes to the code revolved around helping Opera play better on mobile-specific networks. So why the big fuss over Dimension beta? Simply put, Opera's new beta does a small but significant thing that nobody, to our knowledge, has quite been able to accomplish. Some carriers can scale webpages to mobile size; others gut webpages for mobile usability or even help create webpages for companies that want play on the mobile platform.How is Opera different? It actually renders a complete page, the way it's meant to be seen, and fits it to your mobile screen.It merits noting how Opera is able to accomplish this. The content is "pre-chewed" -- meaning there's an intelligent mind back there taking note of the content you want to see, then parsing it down with without deterring from aesthetic integrity or utility.But creepy Big Brother feel aside, the visual quality is reportedly stunning. Guess it's a priority issue.Opera's method for mobile webpage rendering also means you don't need to memorize WAP addresses or hunt for URLs meant especially for mobile (they have little m's in them). Opera's back-end compression technology also means any phone can browse the Web, not just a three-figure-or-above model (costwise).Some reqs: Have a GPRS Java-enabled phone.Here is where it sucks to be a Verizonite. (Which is what I happen to be.)Verizon doesn't support third-party applications. That means no Opera for you.This position is odd considering AT&T and T-Mobile, among other carriers, don't mind hosting Opera by any means. And the favor shows. Thus far, Opera Mini has garnered 15 million downloads, including users in Africa, Japan and other non-US locations.Not a huge stretch when you consider regulatory differences between US and non-US mobile carriers. Business development VP Tatsuki Tomita of Opera in Asia Pacific said, "In Europe and other places the operators are all on the same playing field. In the US every carrier has its own standards."Which makes the Verizon blackball sadder still.So yeah. Opera Mini Dimension rocks well, according to private beta testers. Careful when updating, though. Word on the street is that bookmarks and history can be lost, but whether your phone actually vomits up all that content varies from model to model.Get cultured here.In other (but related) news, mobiSiteGalore brings standards to mobile web design. And if you're interested in the content aspect of mobile, learn about moblogging and what Nokia and Six Apart (ever busy) are doing on that front.