Back in March, Opera released a beta version of their Opera Mini browser for the Android platform. I like several thousand other Android users, was very eager to try Opera out to see how it stacked up against the stock browser and other browser alternatives. Though webpages seemed to load very quickly in Opera Mini, I was fairly unimpressed by the overall Opera Mini experience.
Earlier this morning, Opera has announced that it is upgrading the Opera Mini browser to version 5.1, and is getting rid of the beta tag suggesting Opera may be ready for prime time. Time will tell how it stacks up against the mass of other products out there, but this time around Opera seems to be trying to actively set itself apart from the competition.
Recognizing the trend in the cell phone industry to move away from unlimited data plans (looking at you AT&T and Verizon) and toward tiered plans, Opera is touting the fact that its compression technology delivers websites quicker and can reduce data costs by up to 90%. This may be good enough to convince some of those Android users who are or will soon be on tiered data plans to give Opera Mini a closer look.
So what's new in Opera 5.1 you may ask? Well, the Opera Mini blog reveals the following enhancements:
- 96 languages are now supported in the user interface.
- Improved page layout on high-resolution screens.
- Improved kinetic scrolling.
- Opera Mini can now be set as the default browser.
- Automatically save browsing sessions if Opera Mini is killed by the system while in the background. Your session is restored if Opera is re-opened within 60 minutes.
- Full-screen now uses the whole screen.
If you're looking for a browser to replace the stock Android browser, I'd encourage you to give Opera Mini 5.1 a shot. Already trying Opera Mini 5.1 out? Let us know what you think in the comments.