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Opera Web-Enables 700Mil. Cell Phones

August 10, 2005

Oslo, Norway-based Opera Software ASA today announced a new version of its Internet browser that allows Web surfing from almost any mobile phone, even those with minimal built-in memory.

 

Accessing the Internet has largely been restricted to higher-end mobile phones with the memory capacity to run a browser. However, the company said its new Opera Mini browser enables Web surfing on more than 700 million low-to-medium-cost phones without space for a traditional browser as long as the phones are Java-capable.

 

Opera said the system only requires the phone to have a small Java program because, “instead of the phone itself processing a Web-page, a remote server preprocesses the page before sending it to the phone.” Opera Mini is designed to be as easily implemented as installing a ring tone; users simply send an SMS or visit a link through their WAP browser to receive it, and they are instantly online.

 

Notes Opera co-founder and Chief Executive Jon S. von Tetzchner: “With Opera Mini you don't have to have an advanced phone to surf the Web, which means that most people can use it with their existing phones.”

 

Opera Mini is currently a pilot project, with the software offered first in Norway as a free download by Norwegian commercial television network TV-2, but broader distribution is also planned, according to the company’s announcement.

 

TV-2 bundled Opera Mini into its Norwegian mobile phone services to offer viewers a complete content package that includes the browser, the statement said.

 

This could become popular. Opera’s shares rose more than 6.4 percent to the equivalent of $2.36 (or 15 Norwegian crowns) on the Oslo stock exchange following the announcement. Opera’s browser has won praise as being fast and compact, and has been gaining ground in mobile phones and personal digital assistants, according to AP.

 

The company, which employs about 200 people, was founded in 1995 by two former developers for the Norwegian telecom group Telenor as an offshoot of a company project.

 

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DRB



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