Norwegian browser brewers, Opera Software, have announced Opera Mini, a J2ME (Java 2 Mobile Edition) Web browser for “virtually all mobile phones”.
Their new Opera Mini enables Web access on more than 700 million low to mid-tier Java-capable phones around the world, with the company trumpeting that it will “finally bring mobile Internet into the mainstream”.
Opera Mini is being marketed as a fast and easy alternative to Opera’s Mobile browser, allowing users to access the Web on mobiles that would normally be unable to run a Web browser.
Weighing in at a slimline 60K the Mini is a mere slip of a thing compared to its big brother Mobile browser which hogs anything between 1MB and 4MB of precious phone memory.
The browser makes up for the feeble firepower of low end phones by using a remote server to pre-process Web pages before sending them to the phone, rather than trying to get the phone to process the pages.
The ‘mini-me’ pages will offer standard browsing capabilities like bookmarks and browsing history, but won’t provide full access to some complex Web pages with advanced security features and other such gizmos.
“Mobile Web surfing has until now been limited to more advanced phones that are capable of running a browser,” says Jon S. von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software.
“With Opera Mini, the phone only has to run a small Java-client and the rest is taken care of by the remotely located Opera Mini server. With Opera Mini you don’t have to have an advanced phone to surf the Web, which means that most people can use it with their existing phones.”
Installing Opera Mini seems simple enough, with users blasting off an SMS message or clicking on a link through their WAP browser to receive the application.
With the Opera Mini making the Web available to low to mid-tier phones, there’s huge potential for operators to scoop up revenue by offering compelling mobile Web services to entice subscribers.
With this in mind, the browser can be customised for operators, broadcasters, mobile content providers and the Internet industry.
Patriotically, Norway’s leading commercial television station, TV2, have already bundled Opera Mini with its mobile services in Norway to offer its viewers a complete mobile content package with a branded Web browser.
“Finally we see how we can generate revenue from real mobile browsing,” says Morten Holst, VP Strategy, TV2 Interactive. “By introducing TV2’s portal through Opera Mini (TM) we have combined the best of mobile services with mobile Web access.”
Opera Mini will be available to consumers through operators and companies who elect to include it in their offerings.
It’s currently part of a pilot project in Norway, with wider availability yet to be announced.