Opera have today announced a new java based browser, called Opera Mini.
The software, designed for mobile phones, is installed by sending a SMS message to a service provider, in a similar way to downloading a ring-tone. Then, when a page is requested, the data is pre-processed by Opera servers and sent to the end user. Opera believe that the product could work on as many as 700m phones world wide.
"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 dont have to have an advanced phone to surf the Web, which means that most people can use it with their existing phones."
Opera, the only major "pay-for-use" web browser provider in the market, hopes that mobile operators and other media companies will be interested in offering the product with mobile packages, creating a more interesting product for end users. Currently, the software is being trialled with Norwegian operator TV2. Opera plans to allow companies to customize the software to meet their own needs.
Opera faces stiff competition and poor market share in the mainstream PC-based browser market. However, it has seen greater success in the mobile market. Opera has strong links with popular mobile makers, and, unlike the desktop market, has a good opportunity here for a strong revenue stream. Mobile providers are keen to offer users a simple way of accessing the web via their phone, yet face the problem of a non-mobile friendly internet. If Opera is successful with Opera Mini, this problem could well be solved.
View: Opera Mini