Opera Mini 4 beta available

So many Web browsers are being updated and released these days it’s hard to keep track of them all. The latest one I have tried is Opera Mini 4 beta, which was released on June 19, 2007.

Opera Mini is a free Web browser for mobile phones, and it works with any phone that is capable of running Java mobile applications according to the MIDP2.0 standard. Obviously the phone needs to be able to connect to the Internet as well.

I tested Opera Mini 4 beta in my Nokia 6680, and I really like it. I already have Opera Mobile on my phone, but Opera Mini 4 somehow looks and “feels” better, and it’s very fast.

It has a neat approach to handling sites that do not provide a stylesheet for handheld devices vs. those that do. Opera Mini 4 applies handheld stylesheets (specified with a handheld media type) if they exist, and otherwise reverts to applying the same CSS as a desktop browser would. This is exactly what all handheld browsers should do.

On sites that do not have a handheld stylesheet, Opera Mini 4 starts by displaying a zoomed out overview of the loaded page. A rectangle surrounds the area you can quickly zoom in and out of by pressing 5 on the keypad. It’s a lot better than having to pan your way around a full-size page.

If you have a phone that meets the requirements for running Opera 4 Mini, I really think you should give it a try. And if you don’t have a phone that can run it, you can see what it looks like and test your sites in it by using the Opera Mini 4 beta Simulator, a Java applet that runs in your desktop browser.

Posted on June 21, 2007 in Browsers, Mobile Web

Comments

  1. Agreed - after a couple of days’ experimentation it seems very flexible, fast and pretty good on the rendering. A very nice beta product!

  2. It’s nice with new mobile browsers. But I’ve only seen one visitor using one on any one of my webpages, so I don’t know yet if it’s worth the effort with a handheld stylesheet, but off course it’s always nice to be future proof :) Do you get any visitors to 456 Berea Street using a handheld device?

  3. June 21, 2007 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Niklas:

    Do you get any visitors to 456 Berea Street using a handheld device?

    Enough to make it worth the 10 minutes it took me to create the handheld CSS ;-). And since I personally do quite a bit of mobile browsing I like sites that consider handheld devices.

  4. June 21, 2007 by Tom Clancy

    Is anyone running this on a mobile emulator? We’re struggling with how to test mobile displays, especially for European clients who may have visitors using devices/ models we don’t have access to in the states.

  5. I am an avid opera mini user, and the improvements between 3 and 4(beta) are amazing. there are still a couple of small improvements to the large screen rendering. The small width rendering is already really really good, eventhough it “mangles” the page.

    4 is faster and indeed feels much nicer. eventhough it’s beta it already feels much more solid than 3, which I quite like as well.

    I found that opera mini’s small width rendering can cope with standard css so well that it didn’t need a special stylesheet. I will probably make one now that they have an even better system in the works, though.

  6. I use Opera for several years and it seems to me a program that has evolved with time. In its beginnings fit in a Diskette and now in a cell phone.

    Technology advances very fast and we already have the power of a good Web Browser in a cell phone, with all characteristics of a PC’s browser.

  7. I’ve been running Opera Mini 4 for the past couple of days and have been very surprised and pleased by my experience with it. I work as the lead mobile designer for a mobile software company in England.

    I was previously running the two mobile browsers that come as standard on the Nokia N73 - the WebKit-based one (which I love) and another one (which they had to include because at that point the WebKit browser didn’t support WML). I now use Opera Mini 4 as my main mobile browser.

    I have had 2 handset resets whilst using it, but this may be due to the low internal memory of the phone and the generally quite buggy nature of it. As a designer, I find the transition between pages subtle and a nice effect, helping to build and convey the idea of traveling through a number of pages.

  8. 4 is faster and indeed feels much nicer. eventhough it’s beta it already feels much more solid than 3, which I quite like as well.

    Wow, I was about to ask about stability (since in the past, I’ve always waited for the full release of Opera Mini)… but that’s great news! It’s very tempting to jump in and try this one early!

  9. Indeed, the beta has some nice improvements!

    Do you guys know if there’s any way to use accesskeys specified on mobile websites? I don’t understand how this is either not supported or hidden from regular users…

    I tend to read this and other blogs on the run, but I don’t rely on handheld stylesheets alone since there’s no way to limit the amount of markup transfered to your phone. I prefer to use services that convert feeds to mobile formats, thus reducing the amount of data transfered. (disclaimer: i’m a founder of one of those services, so I might be biased. But still, it’s my opinion)

  10. Roger, thanks for pointing this one out :) Dispite beeing a Opera Mini addict I had totally missed this one.

    Nice feature with the page overview, but I have become so used to the “fit to page width” view that it felt kinda strange to navigate like that, but I’ll give it some more tries before totally discarding it ;)

    My favorite new feature must be the correct rendering of ul:s, in 3.1 all dots where removed and sometimes lined up in one long line instead of below each other…

    Compared to other mobile browsers I definately prefer OM since it uses a proxy server that resizes all images and saves you a lot of bandwidth…

    And since 3.1 added support for SSL, I can now used it for far more sensitive tasks as well. Please note that 4.0 beta doesn’t support SSL yet…

    Thanks Roger! And if I’m not misstaken I believe that 456 Berea Street is where I first heard of Opera Mini a few years ago ;)

  11. I use Opera Mini every day. It makes my buss trips more fun, and I never buy news papers anymore :p

    @Niklas Olsson: According to HitsLink it is just a bit bigger than Mozilla (not Firefox) these days. With 0.16%. Not that big, but it is getting bigger every month. It is only one year old. So it is a small baby, but a powerfull one.

    @Tom Clancy: Opera Mini 3.1 Simulator:

    http://www.operamini.com/demo/ Opera Mini 4 beta simulator: http://www.operamini.com/demo/

    • ØØ -
  12. Nice to see some improvements in mobile browsers, now only the mobile internet costs have to decrease to really use them ;)

    Here in Germany it’s really expensive to surf with your mobile.

  13. I was use previous Opera Mobile on HP IPAQ and it’s brillant. I hope next version will be better :-)

  14. I find it interesting to have new devices coming up but i feel it was so good to try the development on the Opera browser online.

    I am waiting the Sonyericsson W960 where the built-in WIFI will be more realistic to testing the development

    Geia mas

    Michael

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