Opera releases Mini browser beta for Android

Google's phone operating system gets a new browser choice as Opera begins the upgrade process for its lower-end mobile browser.

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Opera Software

In a move to expand its franchise to a higher-end frontier of the mobile phone market, Opera Software has released a beta version of Opera Mini 5 for Android.

Opera's Mini and more feature-rich Mobile browsers are widely used in the mobile phone market, but the company faces a challenge in new smartphones using Apple's iPhone OS, Google's Android operating system, and Palm's WebOS. Those come with their own browser installed already, in those cases based on the WebKit browser project.

Mini is designed to work on less-capable phones with smaller screens, slower network connections, and less-sophisticated user interface abilities. Version 5 offers support for features including Speed Dial, which is a grid of favorite Web pages, compression through Opera's servers to speed download of Web pages that aren't tailored for mobile phones, and tabbed browsing.

The Norwegian company had released an earlier version of Mini for Android, starting with a technical preview in April 2008 and culminating in Opera Mini 4.2 for Android in January. It's also working on a version of Opera Mobile for Android.