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Smartphones Now: Opera Mini will rock your world

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Let’s be perfectly honest with each other for a few minutes: most built-in mobile Web browsers make me (and probably you) want to scratch my eyeballs out. Any Java-enabled device not running Opera Mini is a travesty. You’re just not living and there are no bones about that. Not only is it faster, but it doesn’t take up a whole lot of space on your device’s already limited memory capacity.

I’d like to think most of you are savvy enough to know how good Opera Mini really is and you’re already running it on your device of choice, but if you’re just joining us or have no idea what it is then step into my office and let’s rap about this for a few.

Opera Mini is a Java-based app that’s around 100KB and it’s free. Most of your run-of-the-mill smartphones are Java-enabled and will play nice with Opera.

Opera Mini 4 is typically faster than other mobile browsers by two fold. How does that happen? It’s quite simple really. All the content is compressed by an Opera proxy server, which gets it to your device much faster and it’s cheaper on your data plan if you’re doing the ala carte thing.

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All the content you see has been scaled down specifically for your mobile device rather than having a ginormous picture or text take up the whole screen, which requires you to scroll far less. But it doesn’t really matter with the current version (4.0) because Opera has added power scrolling shortcuts. The number keys do all the work for you. Press 2 to go up, 6 to go right, 8 to go down and 4 to go left. That’s fine and dandy, but aren’t the pics and text extremely small now? Nope. Hit 5 and it zooms in and out. The addition of Mobile View does a heck of a job rendering pages so you don’t have to scroll horizontally, too.

Previous versions of Opera were lacking a landscape mode for QWERTY-enabled devices, and that’s been taken care of with v4.0. But, then again, not a lot of devices needed that feature until recently. The Tilt comes to mind as well as the Ocean. Another great addition is the virtual mouse that comes in mighty handy because you won’t be wasting time while you painstakingly go from one link to another. Relocate that cursor where you need it and you’re golden.

All these new features were much needed and I’m glad they’re here now, but the greatest addition to the feature set has been Opera Link, which allows you to sync your pre-existing bookmarks from your dekstop browser to your mobile browser. This brings everything full circle. Your desktop browsing experience is now fully compatible (except for videos) and available on your smartphone.

In a nutshell, I’m happy with v4.0 and have it running on my Ocean and Curve. The only thing I dislike about Opera Mini is the way you input text for passwords (or anything for that matter), and having to click through various sub-menus. For instance, when I’m done inputting a URL I don’t want to have to hit the menu key to hit Ok. I just want to hit return and have it to jump to the link.

Of course, reading about it and using it are two completely different things. Try it out and I guarantee you’ll never turn back.

Opera Mini Download

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