Opera Software today announced the world-wide release of Opera Mini, the full Web browser that runs on almost every mobile phone, including low- and mid-end handsets.
The global launch follows the trials of Opera Mini in the Nordics and in Germany during the fall of 2005, which resulted in a user base of over one million people. Opera Mini is available free-of-charge via WAP download, or for a small fee via SMS.
The first trial of Opera Mini was launched in Norway in August 2005, and Michael Gartenberg, vice president and research director, Jupiter Research, called it "a really big breakthrough for the mobile space." Opera now also offers customized versions of Opera Mini to mobile phone operators, handset manufacturers and other companies interested in offering a branded, full mobile Web browser to their customers.
Opera Mini is available in English, German, Spanish, French, Russian, Polish, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and Finnish. More languages will be available shortly. Opera Mini requires that the phone supports Java.
Opera Mini runs on any Java-enabled non-smartphone. The handset only needs to run a small (50-100 KB) Java client to access the web, which is like a VNC or Terminal Services client of sorts. Opera Mini uses a remote proxy server to pre-process the web page instead of requiring the phone to process them. When a user requests for a webpage, it is fetched by the Opera Mini server and reformatted with Small Screen Rendering technology, compressing it further by about 70-80%, and is finally sent to the handset as output. This feature optimizes the browsing for phones with very low resources, or low bandwidth connections, as well as low screen real-estate.