08:02 AM

Opera Releases 'Mini' Mobile Phone Browser

Opera Mini supports virtually all Java-enabled cell phones and compresses Web pages by up to 80%, reformatting them for easy and fast browsing on mobile screens.

LONDON — After major trials in Scandanavia and Germany, mobile phone browser developer Opera Software has released its Mini Web browser that runs on most mobile phones.

Mobile phones must support Java in order to use the new browser.

The trials had already established a user base of over 1 million. Opera Mini will be available free of charge via Wireless Application Protocol download, or for a small fee via users' small messaging service providers.

"With Opera Mini, most people can start surfing the Web with the mobile phone they have today," said Jon von Tetzchner, CEO of Opera Software (Oslo, Norway).

Opera Mini compresses Web pages by up to 80 percent and reformats them using what Opera calls small-screen rendering for easier browsing on mobile screens.

Opera said using the software will lead to significantly faster browsing and reduced phone bills for users who pay per kilobit of data traffic. Opera Mini's start page integrates a Google search box.

Opera will soon offer customized versions of Mini to mobile phone operators and handset manufacturers.

The browser is available in English, German, Spanish, French, Russian, Polish, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and Finnish. More languages will be added in the coming months.

Late last year, Opera Software denied industry rumors that it had become a takeover target, with both Microsoft and Google mentioned as possible buyers. Those companies are seen as keen to gain access to Opera's mobile browser technology and applications.

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