Mini revolution

Opera’s latest offering

My friends over at Opera have recently released version 3 of Opera Mini. The “mini” application is part of a larger technology that takes content (typically intended for the Web on larger clients like PCs) and reforms it into a narrow (collapsible) strip layout for viewing on mobile devices. For many sites, the experience is quite good, especially if you are in browsing mode and expecting to be able to get everything from the site that you would expect while at your PC. Nevertheless, there is more to a mobile Web site than reformed PC content. Take my favourite news site, the BBC. Their mobile news service on the mobile Web is specifically structured for mobile users. Terse information, for someone on the move. Simple, concise, focussed. That required a little bit of effort by the BBC people. They, the authors, decided what would be appropriate, how it would be structured, how it would be presented. Some thought went into the mobile site.

In the case of Opera Mini, the sites providing the content are any random sites from the Web. Generally, none of these were constructed with the mobile user in mind. The Opera Mini server does what it can in the absence of any input from the original content authors to reform the content. The result is a version of PC content that mostly works on your mobile device, but imagine how much better it could be if the original authors were involved.

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