back to article Opera tries to out-do the iPhone

Opera has launched a beta of its mobile browser, Opera Mini: version 4 supports smooth zooming around web pages and server-based page optimisation, giving Opera claim to deliver the whole internet ahead of Apple's much-anticipated iPhone. Version 4 of the Java-based browser also makes greater use of the keypad for navigation, …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You can already do this on Symbian S60 phones

    There are already loads of phones that can present a website in its entirity and zoom in and out. The latest S60 smartphones (Nokia N95, N93, N76, 6290, 5700, 6110 etc) have a browser that can show an entire page just like a PC, then zoom in and out as the user sees fit. It can also run Flash within pages, something the iPhone can't do.

    The reason the S60 browser can do everything the iPhone browser can do is because... IT'S THE SAME BROWSER! S60's browser is based on the same open source core as Safari. Nokia added flash support on top of the browser, but it seems Apple haven't done this yet (although that might come in a firmware upgrade).

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Opera not "first" until out of beta & on real devices

    It's a bit rich pushing beta software as if its the end of the race. There is a reason for this testing stage prior to release. If Apple sticks to its deployment schedule then they will provide this functionality before Opera.

  3. Michael Sheils

    The Advert

    Classic, I thought the iPhone was goignt o say it couldn't go out because it had to charge though, they rammed that "It's expensive" message home a tad to hard when there are so many other things you could attack about the iPhone.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't work, makes Safari 3 beta look like polished release class software

    If you know how bad the Blazer Browser is on Palm OS on a Treo 650, it's no surprise I downloaded this right away.

    The Opera Beta only takes 223K and comes in a native Palm OS format. Ok, so downloaded and installed. Error... you also need the Java WebSphere VM from IBM. Pretty sure I already had Java on this phone, and so much for a "native " Palm app. Oh well, nearly 2MB of memory later, I have the WebSphere Java VM installed.

    Launch the browser. It configures itself for my connection, and I'm online. Wow, what a buggy piece of garbage. In the options scree, it doesn't recognize the stylus (except for scroll dragging) and I have to use the direction pad to highlight options then click to turn them on or off. No page zooming either (the feature I wanted!) I figure page zooming must be a setting I have to turn on. Ah, auto zoom is off, I'll turn it on. No difference. Oh wait, maybe it's the fit to page setting. Nope, no difference. Also, the font rendering is horrible (their smallest font is huge, much larger than Blazer's smallest font). In Opera's defence, did load about four times faster in Opera than in Blazer. Unfortunatly page display/rendering is much worse than the Blazer Browser. Anyway, I'll go back to Blazer, which is so sad.

    So much for Opera giving an iPhone feel on other phones. Maybe zoom works on everything but the Palm OS. Oh and it didn't even recognize the menu button on my phone to get to the drop down menu to appear. I had to click "menu" on the screen to go there. It also didn't appear to support tabbed browsing, something I believe Safari on the iPhone supports. It's a shame they put more effort into their video than this browser. Or at the very least, released this version too soon because they wanted to show their video.

    I don't mind attitude against the iPhone (in fact, it almost begs to have it) but you'd better deliver something that works as promised if you are going to pick on a product with so much excitement [hype – Ed.] surrounding it. Opera should've let the iPhone and Safari crash (or succeed if it does) on its own if this is their best effort.

  5. voshkin

    ALL the phones

    I like the claim (in the video) that opera runs right now, on all the phones in the world.

    Now, English is not my first language, but, if I understood that phrase correctly, the opera software is either/or

    1. Running on my phone (nope)

    2. Will run on my “house phone” (they did not say mobile/cell phone)

    3. Will run on my old Nokia 2110....

  6. Chris Papaioannou

    Works perfectly....

    Not had an issue yet with it. Small install file. 91KB, installed fine, detected setup in about 2/3 seconds fine, and then every function I tried worked....fine.

    Fair enough with phone browsers there are a limited number of things you can have to seperate youself from the competition. But though this is a brillinatly, and its a great browser.

    You also have to remember, Safari Beta is for Mac's and PC's.....

    Opera Mini Beta had a much damn bigger range of devices is needs to be able to work on. If it doesn't work for your device, I'm sure they will be working on making it work asap. Submit feedback. Tell them.

    Its simple to use, its functional, and not had a bug yet. I cant find a flaw anywhere.

    Bit of a contrast from above; aye.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good on a K800i

    Working well on my Sony Ericsson K800i. In fact I'm using it now. I notice some pages appear as the full page and others don't. I suspect some (such as this one) are detecting that I'm using Opera Mini and reformatting themselves accordingly. Although considerate, it defeats one of the browser's main selling points.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a shameless me too, but good luck to them...

    Anything that helps diminish IE's market share even further, thus resulting in more urgency for web site developers to use open web standards and technology instead of exclusionary, proprietary MS crap, the better.

  9. Jonathan

    S60 browser is *not* the same as the iPhone's

    It is the same OSS rendering engine (WebKit) in both browsers, but not the same browser. To say it is the same browser is like saying Netscape is the same as Firefox.

  10. Mike

    The Same Browser?

    Loosen up "same" enough and you'll bring in IE, which is descended from Spyglass Mosaic which is descended from, ah, you guessed. :-)

  11. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Frankly, my dear, I don't give a . . . .

    I use a 21" screen to surf the Web, with a proper keyboard and mouse and an 8Mbps connection.

    The day has not come when a phone will be able to give me that experience.

    Meanwhile, I just couldn't care less what browser runs on what phone. I use my phone for phoning.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "... there are so many other things you could attack about the iPhone." (Michael Sheils).

    Hey, Michael, you've got an iPhone! I won't ask you how you got it (you are, perhaps, a high-ranking techno-savvy big shot in a mobile phone company).

    So, what do you think ... what are the other things you could attack? I'm really keen to know directly from someone who actually HAS one of the fabled beasts.

  13. Chris Matchett

    Frankly you don't get out enough

    Google Maps and travel news plus email on the phone is great. Check footie scores on the go? Yes!

    Anyhoo The current version of Opera Mini (haven't tried the beta yet) works wonderfully on my Palm Treo 750v although I needed to dig out a compact and well working distribution of the Websphere Java engine.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same browser?...

    "It is the same OSS rendering engine (WebKit) in both browsers, but not the same browser. To say it is the same browser is like saying Netscape is the same as Firefox."

    Maybe so, but it's fair to say also that Nokia's browser in S60 phones is actually better than Safari.

    Should also point out that being open source, Nokia contribute back to the core development so Safari benefits (and indeed credits Nokia).

    The ability to thumbnail scroll around full Internet pages (and yes, S60 phones can browse the full Internet) makes the Internet so much easier to use on a phone. Better still is the thumbnail view of your history. Beautiful.

    The full Opera for mobiles is quite nice for quick rendering but it's painfully slow to start up and it doesn't integrate into the phone well (e.g. click on a link from a text or email and it won't fire Opera. Click on a link in Opera to send an email and it won't take you to the relevant email app. Click on a phone number and it won't call the number. Click on a Flash link and it won't fire up the built in Flash app. etc).

  15. Guybrush Freepwood-Stokes

    v4 Beta shows real promise

    I was playing around with the Opera Mini v4 Beta on a Samsung D600 yesterday, and whilst it did crash on me after about 20 minutes of use, I was very impressed with it. Once the bugs are ironed out it will provide a decent 'everywhere on demand' browsing experience, even on relatively unsophisticated hardware.

    To go off-piste a bit here, I'm a bit of an Apple apologist at the best of times, but this nonsense about the iPhone being the first time you have "the whole Internet in your pocket" has really riled me. Given that this has been possible on a variety of devices for a while now (for example using Opera Mobile 6 on an SE P900 over two years ago), Apple's claim is simply wrong. Safari on the iPhone might have a slightly slicker interface, but its not providing a greater degree of access to content than has been possible with othr devices for ages. What's more, with the HTC Tytn that I've had for nearly a year now, I've had access to the full Internet at 3G speeds - and the same is true of many 3G devices if they're running one of Opera's mobile browsers, but is certainly not possible with the iPhone. On this issue, Apple fan-boy that I am, I've got to hand it to Opera.

    Now if someone would just write a nice iPhone-coverflow-iPod style interface for Windows smartphones... ;-D

  16. james newcombe

    Who cares?

    From the beginnings of WAP to the current efforts to bring the 'real' web to our phones, it has been clear that accessing web information on a mobile handset is slow, buggy and more often than not, an utterly frustrating waste of time. Its almost as painful as trying to play games on your phone (ie: an activity that is not what the handset was designed to do! (ergonomically speaking)).

    The last few mobiles i've owned have been awful, as they've been slowed down by hosting crap software that noone will use more than once - for example, a PDF viewer (on a 5" screen, wtf?), and thus taking ten seconds to open a text message (i'm glaring at you, Nokia N70)

  17. james newcombe


    I meant a 5cm screen!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No AJAX

    It doesn't seem to handle AJAX Web applications. The iPhone supposedly does. 1-0 for Apple.

  19. Nigel Jones

    I don't get this

    I don't get how apple talks about this being a first since Symbian S60 phones such as N80 have been able to do this for at least the last year. I guess anything above a regular phone call is probably a world first. SMS text - not heard of that?

    Screen res & size is important - the N80 has > 400x300 screen (but a bit small). The N95 is lower res, but bigger.

    I've tried the new opera and actually think in many ways it's even better - probably due to the server optimization.

  20. fon

    to voshkin..

    please dont oversimplify or guess.. use some intelligence...

    If someone says 'futureproof' , it would be very childish to say 'but I thought you meant 'for ever' !!

  21. Daniel Ballado-Torres

    No AJAX support?

    If you want AJAX, go buy it in your nearest store ;)

    Seriously. Cell phones doing AJAX is stupid. There's something called WML that kind of runs smoothly on cell phones' limited bandwidth. Regular web was not meant to be watched in miniature screens!

    That said, it seems like Opera's beta for *cell phones* is fairing much better than the Safari Windows beta.

  22. fon

    It is apple's Reality Distortion Field...

    If you read around a bit you will realise that they are in their own little world, where only theirs is best...

  23. Patrick O'Reilly

    Best PHONE browser

    People have to remember Opera's main market is phone's that support MIDP2,

    Most of the comments against OM are relating to high end devices, so why not pay for the version of the Opera written for their device.

    No other application offers such features on a low end phone.

    As for the applications maturity anyone who has used it will realise pretty quickly that it is a complete rewrite and with any beta software there are always going to be issues. But look at Opera Mini's previous version, it's virtually flawless, so nothing less will be expected from Opera when they release Opera Mini v4 final.

    As for Adobe Flash support I seriously doubt any such support will be added as Flash is a proprietary format and would incurr too great a cost to Opera for a piece of software that they are giving away free. Also most flash animations would exceed the screen dimensions of most small screen devices and small screen rendering of flash is not Opera's business.

    As for AJAX a lot of desktop based browsers don't even provide full javascript support required for AJAX, not to mention the increase in download size including the JS lib's.

    In conclusion Opera Mini v4 offers mobile phone users everywhere an application, for free, that lets them browse websites fullscreen and more completely than other phone based browsers. And all in just 91kb.

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