Browsing the Net on a mobile phone? No biggie, right? But less than a decade ago it was a rather big deal, expecially if you didn’t have a fancy phone. It must have been at least half a decade ago that I discovered Opera Mini and have never looked at another mobile browser since. And, of course, it is this week’s Saturday Night Freeware.
Opera Mini is not to be confused with Opera Mobile, Opera’s full-featured mobile browser. The Mini is a lite version that pre-processes pages on Opera’s dedicated servers before delivering them to the mobile phone. In doing so, it compresses the pages, making them smaller and faster to load, and makes less demands on resources. Thus, for years it has been bringing the full Web experience to “ordinary” mobile phones.
Till a few versions ago, Opera Mini used to be a Java-based application, but now is also available for the iOS, Android, Symbian/S60, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile. The current version is 6.1, but users of older or more basic handsets can opt for an earlier J2ME version (4.3).
Opera Mini provides full HTML access, tabbed browsing, history, bookmarks support, predictive text, password manager, privacy management and more. It includes some of the features that makes the desktop version of Opera special, like Speed Dial and Opera Link.
Opera Mini isn’t perfect — it doesn’t support Flash, full rendering or HTML 5, which Opera Mobile does. However, it is a great option to have if you have limited bandwidth or a phone that doesn’t sport fancy features or OSes. Try it today!