Cape Town - Feature phone users can now have a smartphone browsing experience with Opera Mini 7.
Norway-base Opera Software has launched the latest version of its browser to enable users to have better access to social networking sites as well as browse the web.
The browser incorporates Smart Page that summarises web content on a basic feature phone with internet access.
"Smart Page is a one-page summary of all the news from your Facebook and Twitter feeds. Using the data-crunching and money-saving technology behind Opera Mini, Smart Page keeps you updated on your social life quickly, without breaking the bank," Opera told News24.
While smartphones are on a growth trajectory in developing countries, many users still have feature phones to make voice calls and send text messages.
Vodacom reported recently that low-cost handsets had selling well, while data demand has been driving revenue.
"The demand remains strong; there's strong competition in the SA market. Data revenue is up 24% year-on-year. The active data customers [are] up 35%: Now just over 12 million [and] all of the 12 million are buying data bundles on a monthly basis," Vodacom CEO Pieter Uys told News24.
"With Smart Page, you just open the browser, and the content is right beside your Speed Dial shortcuts in the start screen for you to skim through - super practical, super time-saving and super smart. I guess that's why the product team called it Smart Page," said Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software.
The Opera browser remains relevant despite the growth of smartphones because it reduces the cost of data for users. On slower networks, it also adds value to the user experience.
Higher network speeds are still a long way off in SA and manufactures are waiting for the operators to roll out the network before they release the devices in the local market.
Shares in Opera have surged recently on rumours that social networking giant Facebook was planning to buy the company.
The release of the latest browser seems to be a good fit with what Facebook might look for as it looks to build its own smartphone.
The network has been widely rumoured to be building its own smartphone for release in 2013 and analysts have speculated that social networking titan will use the smartphone to bolster its advertising footprint.