Cape Town - Opera Software has significantly updated its mobile browser
to cater for people who want an improved web experience on feature
Though smartphones are outselling feature phones, many
people - particularly in developing markets use feature phones as their
internet access portal because of the lower data costs associated with
using the devices.
"In many other markets in Africa, we see very
few PCs. And the guy on the street, he basically gets access to the
internet through a mobile phone," Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software
The version of the browser, Opera Mini 8, has been
redesigned to improve the functionality of the Speed Dials for speedy
access to popular websites and a new Private and Night Mode.
they are reading the internet or checking their Facebook account, they
are doing this in bed - and that's why we have Night Mode," said
Boilesen of user patterns in consuming mobile internet content in
Night Mode is designed for people who use their phones at night and have issues with a bright screen glare in a darkened room.
Mode allows private tabs that won’t store the details on the phone nor
on the Opera servers, while keeping other web windows open and
Privacy has emerged as a key concern for internet
users with reports of wholesale data collection by government agencies,
including the US NSA.
Opera says that it is concerned about
privacy issues, and a new report from Reporters Sans Frontieres
(Reporters Without Borders) says that a global spying campaign is being
carried out by democratically elected governments.
damaging revelations, there has not been a correlation of data
confirming that people are abandoning internet platforms.
think people are more worried about what the NSA is doing with their
data than what an advertising agency or a Walmart company will do with
their data. They know that the worst thing that can happen is that we
want to sell something, and they know that rule of the game," said
Maurice Lévy chair and CEO of Publicis Groupe, France.
to statistics by industry tracker StatCounter, around 36% of mobile
internet traffic in SA goes through Opera Mini servers, and in Africa,
that number climbs to 48.3%.
While Opera commands a small
percentage of desktop browsing according to W3schools.com at 1.8% as of
January 2014, whereas on mobile platforms, Opera Mini has a 13.8% market
share, according to StatCounter.
"Roughly half of our 250
million Opera Mini users are on basic phones, also called feature
phones, and, today, their browser got even better," said Christian
Uribe, Product Manager for Opera Mini, Opera Software.
The company says that because of its compression technology, users saved around $1bn in data costs during 2013.
Opera Mini 8 is a free download from the website.
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