Norway-based developer Opera has released the latest beta version of its Java-based browser, otherwise known as Opera Mini 5, in a bid to distance itself from the rest of the competition featurewise.
Opera was one of the very first desktop browsers to come with tabs and it has now introduced this life-changing functionality on your mobile. Like its desktop version, you can now get bookmark your favourite websites and get access to them faster thanks to a mobile version of Opera's speed dial.
The interface of the browser has also been reworked to deliver "the next generation of mobile browsing". One thing that literally jumps out is the fact that, compared to the old Opera 4, version 5 will need an awful lot of screen page to become truly useful.
We tried it on the Nokia E71 (it is compatible with JE and Blackberry phones) and found it to be quite intuitive although it did not import bookmarks from the old Opera we had. Furthermore, this version of Opera Mini still lacks Flash and does not offer Opera link, the very useful synchronisation feature that was present in Opera Mini 4.
But it does offer password management, something that default browsers on most mobile phones do not offer plus its proprietary data compression functionality and its nifty zoom feature. Opera has also managed to optimise the browser for touchscreens which is great when you have one but which isn't when you have to rely on a physical keyboard.
All in all a very good attempt by Opera, this is still the early days and one has to remember that this is a beta application which means that there will be some glitches here and there. For now, you can download it from m.opera.com/next.
Here is a movie by the guys from Opera explaining why their mobile browser kind of redefines the way you consume the internet.