Opera Mini 5 Beta was first introduced about 5 months ago, but owners of Android-based smartphones had to wait until now to get their hands on Opera’s nifty mobile browser. Opera Software today launched the newest beta version of the world’s most popular browser for mobile phones, Opera Mini 5, on the Android platform. Opera Mini 5 beta for Android brings a fast and cost-efficient Web experience to any handset built on the Android platform.
Why consider Opera over the built-in, WebKit-based Android browser? For one thing, if you’re using Opera on the desktop, you can enable Opera Link support to sync up your bookmarks and start-up page links. If you find yourself more often than not on a slow connection, you’ll also like Mini’s ability to set lower image quality and thereby speed up page loading, restoring the images once you click them.
With the addition of new feature like multiple tabs, copy-and-paste, bookmark manager, password manager and of course more support for touch-screen models, Opera Mini seems to have consolidated its position as the most versatile mobile browser overall. Their strategy at the moment is probably to innovate for more powerful phones while keeping OM 4.2 open for lower-end models as they still offer a low-memory version 3 for very simple mobiles.
To get Opera Mini 5 Beta, point your mobile browser to m.opera.com/next, click “Download Opera Mini 5 for Android” and follow the instructions and you’re done! Alternately, you can also search for “Opera Mini” in the Android Market.
Opera Mini 5 is bigger at 221 KB than its 125 KB predecessor and uses more phone resources. Given the new features this is to be expected but it also means that some older or lower end phones that can run Opera Mini 4.2 will not be able to use Opera Mini 5. In particular, Palm OS devices and BlackBerries running OS 4.1 are no longer supported. There is also no Android version of Opera Mini 5 yet although one is promised. Opera Mini 5 is optimized for screen sizes of 240×320 and larger. It will work on smaller screens but some menu options will be off screen and unreachable especially if you are using any mobile website design software. However, you should be able to work around this easily using Opera Mini’s keyboard shortcuts.
I’m particularly excited about the tabs, copy/paste and the password manager. These are features that were really needed and will really enhance usability and my ability to get things done online with my phone. Overall I recommend the Opera Mini 5 Beta, give it a try. It installs alongside 4.2 and 3.1 rather than overwriting them so you have nothing to lose.