The latest version of the mobile browser has tabbed browsing, a password manager, and improved touch-screen controls.
Opera Software released Wednesday a beta version of its popular mobile browser, and Opera Mini 5 boasts multiple new features and a new user interface.
The browser is available for a wide variety of devices including feature phones with Java ME, as well as Windows Mobile and BlackBerry smartphones. Opera Mini is compatible with multiple platforms because it uses server-side compression technology that eases the bandwidth and hardware requirements needed to surf the Web from a mobile device.
Opera said the latest version of its mobile browser compresses pages by up to 90% before they are sent to a phone, which improves page-load times. Opera Mini 5 also adds tabbed browsing, a password manager, improved scrolling, and a refined user interface that has better support for touch-screen handsets.
Opera has brought some of the features of its desktop browser to Opera Mini 5, including the "speed dial" feature which is a set of visual bookmarks for Web pages when the user opens a new tab. The beta version is available for multiple devices, and it can be downloaded directly to a phone from Opera's Web site.
Opera is the leading player in the mobile browsing space, as StatCounter estimated it has about 25% of the mobile surfing market. The market for mobile browsing is becoming increasingly competitive, as Apple's mobile Safari is a close second with 22% of the market, and Nokia has 21%.
With strong browsers like Opera Mini, smartphones could eventually replace your laptop as a mobile computing device. InformationWeek analyzed how handhelds are becoming over-the-air portals for enterprise apps, and the report can be downloaded here (registration required).