Opera has updated its data-saving Opera Mini browser, adding support for tablet displays and bringing its overall look more into line with Opera's full-fat Android browser.
The new Opera Mini, which supports Android 2.3 and above (compared to Android 4.0 and above for the full Android browser), includes a redesigned Speed Dial feature for managing bookmarks, and new options to adjust the layout for phones or tablets, or optimise it for single-handed use. It also contains a new private browsing feature and a simplified menu.
With data compression being one of the main features of Opera Mini, Opera has also refreshed its data counter, which visually brings it inline with the Opera browser's Off-Road mode counter. And, rather than the full Opera browser's Discover tab, the Opera Mini browser displays a Discover newsfeed, essentially merging the start page with Speed Dial and Discover.
Opera said that with the release of Opera Mini 8, it's stopping development on older versions of the browser, which supported Android 2.2 and lower, though they're still available for download from the company. The upgrade from Opera Mini 7.6.5 should be easy, with all data automatically migrated across.
The Oslo-based company noted that it's aiming to double its number of users over the next two years by targeting Android users in emerging markets, most likely those who face constraints on bandwidth.
"We aim to reach 275 million users on the Android platform by 2017, more than doubling today's user base of 130 million. This growth will further cement Opera's position as a dominant browser in fast-growing, emerging economies," Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software, said.
While Android accounts for the vast majority of Opera's user base, the Opera Mini browser is the default for Nokia's older Asha feature phones, thanks to a deal Opera struck with Microsoft to support devices that it intended to stop the production of.
In March, the company also released the beta of its Opera Mini browser for Windows Phone.
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