Opera Mini 5 BETA Released
As a long-term user of Opera Mini, for 5 years or more (I think the first phone I had it on was my 6600 back in 2002), but more recently on both on my Sony Ericsson K800i and HTC Universal (using a Java loader for Windows Mobile), I was excited to learn that Opera Mini 5 would be a total overhaul of the browser, to bring it more up to date and take advantage of modern phone technologies and features.
Opera 4 was not drastically different from 3 etc, so one did have some worries that they may wreck it by changing it so much. But in actual fact, for the touch-screen version at least, they have worked absolute wonders.
Surely now, not only is Opera Mini the fastest mobile browser in the world, thanks to Opera's legendary CacheX technology meaning that web pages are compressed by upto 90% - which not only means lightning fast load times, making even GPRS connections outperform 3G connections, but much much lower network/data allowance usage as well, which can be just as important to both the user and the networks - but also it is now a true touch-screen rival to Apples awsome Safari browser found on their iPhone.
The thing that set Safari apart from previous incarnations of Opera Mini from the outset, was that Safari being propietary, was designed for touch-screen browsing only, whereas Opera Mini was designed for non-touch screen enviroments, and relied on the phone's software to control the touch elements of the software. In many respects, aside from the fact it did the job, and did it well, it has to be said that it did look a little boring to iPhone users, and one did feel that it was severely lacking a true touch screen interface that could really add extra features to the browser and make it even easier to use.
Opera Mini 5 changes all this, as it has been designed from the base upwards with full support for both the traditional non-touch screen phones, and more importantly the ever increasing number touch screen phones as well.
I have been running the BETA on my HTC for a couple of days now and I have to say is a massive advancement and improvement for those of us with touch screen phones, and has so many new features it really is a fantastic effort. It is ultra-responsive, and the onscreen keyboard has to be the best I have ever used on a Windows Mobile phone. Everything seems to have been designed and placed perfectly within the browser, and despite its stunning, modern and free-flowing visual appearance, it is extremely light and well coded, so runs just as fast and efficient as Opera Mini 4 does.
I have not tried it on my K800i as yet, but will be taking a look into it a little later on and report back. Even though its still in BETA, for touch screen users at least, id strongly recommend you install it alongside Opera Mini 4, and give it a whirl, you may just like it.
Here is a few of the features and screenshots found in Opera Mini 5 (some screenshots are of the touch screen interfact, others are on the standard keypad interface): Tabbed browsing
Browse several Web sites at the same time. Jump easily from one to another. Speed Dial
Your favorite sites are just one click away. Touch & Keypad
The interface optimizes the display for both touchscreen and keypad phones. Password manager
Log on to your e-mail, social network and other sites with just one click.Click here for more information and to download Opera Mini 5 BETA
Btw, my HTC Universal is the only phone with a 640x480 VGA (PC resolution) screen, so I may have a slight advantage as it was essentially designed as a pocket laptop and primarily for surfing the net etc, would be very interested to hear from people with normal 320x240 touch screens and smaller.