News Archive (1999-2012) | 2013-current at LinuxGizmos | Current Tech News Portal |    About   

Opera Mini 5 browser released for Android

Mar 11, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 9 views

Opera Software has released a beta version of its Opera Mini 5 mobile browser for Android. Opera Mini 5 offers features including tabbed browsing, a password manager, bookmarks, and visual bookmarks known as “Speed Dial,” but there's no multi-touch support yet, according to the company.

Opera Mini, touted as the "world's most popular mobile browser," was launched in January 2006 for Windows Mobile as well as other phones, running via a JVM (Java virtual machine). The Mini 5 version appeared for JVM and BlackBerry phones last fall, and last week appeared in a native Windows Mobile version that no longer requires a JVM.

Now, Opera Mini 5 runs on Android natively too, according to Opera Software. The browser's features now appear to be closely aligned with the company's previous mobile offering, Opera Mobile, which has been available only for Windows Mobile and Nokia handsets.

Opera Mini 5 for Android beta
(Click on either to enlarge)

While borrowing from Opera Mobile, Opera Mini 5 has also cherry-picked from the desktop version of the Linux-compatible Opera browser, at least in terms of its user interface, writes Jonathan Angel on our sister publication The new UI is said to include a feature called Speed Dial, designed to store thumbnails of frequently launched websites on a page that appears whenever the browser is launched.

The browser also features tabbed browsing, complete with visual thumbnails that make it easy to switch from page to page. Meanwhile, navigation buttons have been simplified, and a pop-up settings menu lets users choose whether or not to use compression and to load mobile versions of web pages.

Unlike Opera Mobile, Opera Mini is designed to work through proxy servers, which translate web pages into OBML (Opera Binary Markup Language) before sending them to phone. OBML includes compressed images, and eliminates the need for the Opera Mini client to do error handling. The scheme compresses web pages by up to 90 percent, according to Opera, resulting in both faster browsing and "dramatically reduced" data transfer charges.

According to a Tim Stevens story in Engadget Mobile, the Opera Mini 5 for Android beta offers "impressively fast page loads at the cost of reduced image quality." The story notes, however, that users can adjust the settings to supply higher quality images at a slower speed. Stevens bemoans the lack of multi-touch support, but writes that while the beta version still needs some polishing, "the speed is so good that we won't be uninstalling this one anytime soon."

Opera leads mobile browser race — barely

According to a story on the new Android version at our sister publication, eWEEK, Opera trails Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome on the desktop, but it leads the mobile browser race. Opera Software claims to have 50 million active mobile browser users as of January, a year-over-year increase of 150 percent.

The Nicholas Kolakowski story cites analytics firm StatCounter as saying the Opera browser occupies some 24.6 percent of the mobile market in contrast to Apple's Safari browser for the iPhone with 22.3 percent. If both the iPhone and the iPod Touch are included in those calculations, however, Apple claims a 37.2 percent share, says StatCounter.

It remains to be seen whether Android users will feel the need to switch from the native WebKit-based Android browser. Meanwhile, Mozilla is prepping an Android version of Firefox for Mobile (Fennec) that will offer additional browsing options.

Stated Dag Olav Norem, VP of Products, Opera Software, "Android users should not have to compromise when it comes to surfing the Web on their phones. Opera Mini will give Android users a fast and cost-efficient access to their favorite Web sites and services."


The beta version of Opera Mini 5 for Android is now available for download at Opera Software or Android Market. More information and links to downloads may be found at Opera Software, here. For a direct download from an Android phone, visit with the Android browser, or search for Opera Mini 5 in the Android Market, says the company.

The Engadget Mobile story on the Android version should be here.

The eWEEK story on Opera Mini 5 for Android may be found here.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

Comments are closed.