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Native Opera Mini version released and is just great!

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While (as of today, a month after it being demoed at MWC for the press) there still isn’t any sign of the native iPhone version of one of the best Web browsers, Opera Mini, in the AppStore, the Opera folks don’t seem to have stopped with porting their browser into other platforms. In addition to the iPhone, there’s also a brand new Windows Mobile version released just two days after my publishing my previous news report on Windows Mobile browsers. (Please see the quick review of the Java version HERE)

Downloading, installing

Download it from HERE. The installer is WM5+ only and runs just fine on the iPAQ 210 (without the SMS / Phone DLL hacks.)

Pros / cons compared to the Java version

Pros:

- Visibly faster than the Java version

- Direct text copy to the system clipboard – no need to temporarily copy the selected and, then, copied text to any native text input area, as opposed to the Java version

- For a newbie, much easier to install than the Java version. (Although, with the latter, the custom third-party distributions with a pre-bundled Jbed JVM work just fine and are very beginner-friendly.)

Cons:

- The initial Opera Link synchronization throws an exception; however, it synchronized my mobile bookmarks just OK.

- There is no custom “smallest” character size – only three of them are available. They, however, are large enough on (W)VGA devices.

- While, as a native app, it could be invoked via an extension / type association (see my earlier articles / tutorials on this), by default, Opera Mini doesn’t allow the user to explicitly set up this, unlike, say, Opera Mobile. (I don’t know if the app indeed supports being invoked together with the link – haven’t had the time to test this in the Registry. Hopefully it is.)

Note that it, just like the Java version, doesn’t support italic characters either. It has, as with the Java version, has huge, easy-to-tap-with-finger drop-down lists – unlike, for example, NetFront 4.0. (Of course, they aren’t as nice as those on the iPhone, though.)

The native version uses the system-level keyboard, not the custom one of Opera Mini. This may be disadvantageous for people wanting to have a finger-only keyboard but refusing to install a third-party, large one. Nevertheless, I don’t list this as a disadvantage as, on Windows Mobile, it has always been preferable to have a system-level keyboard than a custom one - with all the niceties (seamless auto-completion, all keys etc.) By the way, with the address input field, the traditional keyboard shortcuts for quick text highlight (Ctl-A) / copy / paste don’t work. This could be fixed in a future version – as has also been done with Opera Mobile, back in 2006.

Memory usage

HERE (the official thread dedicated to the app) some people reported much better memory usage than with the Java version. I’ve pretty thoroughly tested this with my standard test pages (see THIS and THIS; more info on the test method in my past Web browser testing-related articles). Both versions were able to load several instances of these pages. (I’ve tested this to 19 with the native version and to some 6 with the Java one. The native version takes up about 520 kbytes of memory for each loaded test page, which is about one-tenth of the figure of other Web browsers.) Unlike on the BlackBerry, where 4.0 has a tendency to quickly run out of memory and, therefore, can’t really keep many pages in-memory at the same time – at least on the BB 8800 with the latest – official – firmware version.

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Posted · Report post

On the smartphone (Tornado WM6 cooked) it cannot switch the keyboard from digits to characters (or I have not found a way to do it actually). For the native 10b3 it is a long push of the * key - but no way to enter an URL in the mini5 :-(

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Posted · Report post

On the smartphone (Tornado WM6 cooked) it cannot switch the keyboard from digits to characters (or I have not found a way to do it actually). For the native 10b3 it is a long push of the * key - but no way to enter an URL in the mini5 :-(

yup, it seems to have problems with the keyboard handling, as has also been reported in the official forums - http://my.opera.com/community/forums/topic.dml?id=440371

Hope they do fix this soon. In the meantime, use the Java version.

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