Browsing the Internet is one of those things that can be a major draw for people looking to purchase a smartphone, but can be rather hit or miss due to the lack of quality mobile web browsers. For my money, having a choice between which browser you use in different situations can be a deal breaker. Luckily, Windows Mobile has more browser choices than many of its competitors.
Opera has been in the mobile browser game as long as anyone and their browsers are among the best. Opera Mini 5 Beta 2 is the latest and greatest from Opera’s Mini product. Traditionally a Java based application; Opera announced today that Opera Mini 5 is available as a native Windows Mobile application. There are technical reasons why having a native application is preferable over a Java based version. The bottom line is that a native Windows Mobile application should offer better performance, stability, and compatibility across a large array of devices.
My first impression with Opera Mini 5 is that it is FAST, though the rendering engine isn’t perfect. Mini 5 uses server side rendering; meaning that when you request a web page, a server somewhere actually downloads the files and formats it and compresses it before sending it along to your device. This method keeps your data usage to a minimum and doesn’t require as much processing power on your device. The Mini 5 UI is also very similar to what we’ve been playing with on the Opera Mobile 10 betas, which I consider a very clean and usable interface.
More information on the features you can expect from Opera Mini are available from Opera’s site. To download the application, point your mobile browser to http://m.opera.com/next/mini.