Android phones get Opera Mini 5 beta

Opera adds Android to its updated browser lineup.

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All those Android smartphone owners who have been wondering when they can ditch the outmoded Opera Mini 4.2 browser in favor of the latest beta can now unfold their pouts, stop that kicking, and remove their pounding fists from the floor. Opera Mini 5 beta for Android has arrived.

On Thursday, Opera Software pushed out the Android version of its Mini 5 browser that improves the browser experience for Java phones by leaps and bounds. The beta build is equipped with an updated interface that includes a new "speed dial" start screen featuring thumbnails of most-visited sites. The browser also supports tabs, a first for Mini but old hat on Opera Mobile.

Opera Mini 5 beta (beta 2, actually) and the nearly identical Opera Mobile 10 beta (for Symbian and Windows phones) have been making the mobile rounds since September. We're fans of the latest advances to come to the free browser, and we're looking forward to Opera making those changes final and retiring Opera Mini 4.2 (and Opera Mobile 9.6, while they're at it.) We just wish that Opera had submitted Mini 5 beta to the Android Market sooner.

There's no confirmation from Opera, but we're speculating that Opera could officially flip the switch on at least one of the Opera Mini 5 variants at the CTIA trade show later in March.

To download Opera Mini 5 beta for Android, check the Android Market from your smartphone or point to mobile browser to www.opera.com/mini/next/.

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