The lowly Java app is the bane of the S60 user’s existence — I mean, what’s the point of having a modern, multitasking mobile operating system if some dinky little program is going to ignore your UI and suck up all your available memory while it runs?
Well, in the case of Opera Mini the hassle is entirely worth it.
I’ve been hearing about Opera Mini since my days with the CrackBerry — folks over at the HowardForums had recommended it as the web counterpart to RIM’s mobile-optimized email, offering up the ability to surf full-sized websites while saving precious kilobytes on Fido’s less-than-generous BlackBerry Connect plans. This same technology is also available for followers of the WinMo, Treo and just about any other mobile handset on the market — except the iPhone, that is… Haw-haw!
What makes this Opera sing (sorry) is the heavy-lifting going on backstage, otherwise known as server-side optimization. It goes something like this:
- You fire up Opera Mini on your mobile and send out a request for a web page.
- The page goes through Opera’s servers; on the way back to you the graphics get compressed (based on your own settings) and the stuff your mobile can’t read gets stripped out.
- You see a thumbnail of the original page and a cursor to zoom in on various parts of the page. It won’t impress your friends quite like pinching and spreading your fingers on an iPhone or iPod touch, but it works just the same if not better.
This is all fine and well, but what sold yours truly on Opera Mini was a demo I saw this past week on BBC World’s Click!, wherein the synchronizing of mobile bookmarks was accomplished by dragging an dropping tabs from an Opera desktop browser — on a Mac, no less!
The interface is called “Speed Dial”. You can see for yourself what it looks like on a full-sized computer by clicking on the thumbnail to the right, and/or have a look at Opera’s own Flash demo.
The other half of the equation is Opera Link. Note that to get this all working you need beta 9.5 of the desktop browser, Opera Mini 4 and an Opera Link account, all of which are 100% free.
So here’s what Speed Dial looks like on my E61i:
The “Bookmarks” link leads to my vast directory of mobile portals and whatnot that I’ve been collecting since my first smartphone. These nine shortcuts are more easily accessed via the pop-up menu seen below:
You may notice that my Speed Dial links are all mobile-friendly web pages to begin with. Let’s just say I’m really stingy with data.
It took me an evening and the following morning to get everything up and running, and I’ve yet to try out the software on other platforms, but so far Opera Mini has proven itself worthy of a coveted spot on my Nokia’s standby screen:
You’ll notice that Nokia’s own web and WAP browsers are nowhere in sight! Kudos to you Opera Mini, for making the Wee World Web a better place…