Dec 6, 2011

Opera Mini Rocks

Its a well known fact that the number of users who prefer to browse on the move is increasing exponentially. Browsing on the smart phones or tablets has its own limitations. Its not very comfortable to type long emails on your handheld devices. Nonetheless, people prefer mobile browsing since it is easier to remain online on your mobile. You need not sit at one place in front of your desktop or you need not boot and shut down your laptop just for checking emails.

Mobile browsing is easier for reading emails, checking facebook notifications and updating status on the move, reading some interesting news articles, checking stock prices and latest updates on a live sports event, searching for some information on Google or searching for contact number on Just Dial.

However, the data plans on mobile are generally costlier than normal broadband plans which is a major constraint in opting for mobile browsing. Also many webpages do not support mobile viewing. As a result, pages are not displayed properly. 

Both these constraints are handled well by Opera Mini. In my earlier post I already have mentioned that Opera Mini is the best mobile browser. 

This is how Opera Mini works. Whenever you enter a website URL in Opera Mini's address bar, instead of sending the request to the website directly, it is first sent to the Opera proxy server. This server then fetches the webpage, compresses it, reformats it for mobile viewing and then transmits it back to Opera Mini in a format developed by Opera called as OBML (Opera Binary Markup Language). Since most of the complex processing is done on the server, there is a reduction in data processing time and browsing speed is also faster. 

This whole process reduces the data transfer costs, enables formatting the webpage for mobile viewing and increases browsing speed as well. Following is the screenshot of my Opera Mini version 6.5 which displays the savings in data transfer over a period of time.

I have saved whopping 86% on my data usage, just by using Opera Mini. 

A word of caution: It is not advisable to use Opera Mini for transmitting any sensitive information since there is no end to end encryption. Opera Mini's FAQ page clearly mentions that "Opera Mini uses a transcoder server to translate HTML/CSS/JavaScript into a more compact format. It will also shrink any images to fit the screen of your handset. This translation step makes Opera Mini fast, small, and also very cheap to use. To be able to do this translation, the Opera Mini server needs to have access to the unencrypted version of the webpage. Therefore no end-to-end encryption between the client and the remote web server is possible.The encryption is introduced to protect the communication from any third party between the client (the browser on your handset) and the Opera Mini transcoder server. If you do not trust Opera Software, make sure you do not use Opera Mini to enter any kind of sensitive information.If you need full end-to-end encryption, you should use a full web browser such as Opera Mobile."

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