Opera Mini 5 for Android released

The mobile-phone browser, which offers tabbed browsing and Speed Dial features, now works on Google's smartphone platform
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor on

Opera on Thursday released a beta version of its Opera Mini 5 browser for the Android platform, part of a strategy to extend the software to higher-end smartphones.

Opera Mini was originally designed for relatively low-powered mobile phones, and uses the Java ME platform supported by many feature phones. But Opera has more recently been adding support for higher-end handsets such as those running the Windows Mobile, Android or iPhone operating systems.

The company released a version of Opera Mini 4.2 for Android in January, but Opera Mini 5 adds a number of new features. These include tabbed browsing, a password manager, improved touchscreen support, and a feature called Speed Dial that presents a visual grid of frequently visited websites.

The browser requests web pages via Opera's servers, which compress them and pre-process them, correcting compatibility errors found in web pages not intended for mobile devices. Opera said compression reduces transfer time by about two to three times.

Opera in December released a limited beta-test version of its smartphone browser Opera Mobile for Android. The company has also continued to refine Opera Mini for higher-end platforms including Windows Mobile and the iPhone OS.

Last week Opera launched a native version of Opera Mini 5 for Windows Mobile 5 and 6, speeding up performance. Last month at the Mobile World Congress the company demonstrated Opera Mini for the iPhone, despite the fact that Apple does not allow rival browsers to be installed on the handset.

The company has also become increasingly involved in the development of standards for widgets, the lightweight, web-based applications that are starting to become prevalent on new handsets.

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