The Opera Mini 4 (Dimension) beta program is just hours away from going live and we have a sneak peak for your viewing pleasure! We’re having a hard time containing ourselves, so we’ll just go right ahead and let you in on all the details. Opera’s been hard at work to bring us the newest version of the lightweight, Java browser. With an 86KB footprint, the new mobile browser, aimed at the non-smartphone segment, is nice and slim – based on all-new code. That means you get faster, fullpage renderings, context menu (under the “OK” button), mouse cursor, and desktop view – all without having to bog down your device with bloated software.
The trick thing about Dimension is its Desktop-viewing feature. There are other viewing options, but we’re not concerning ourselves with the age-old “column” view. Opera is bringing the more intuitive desktop-computer browsing experience to your mobile phone. In desktop-view, you get a zoomed-out image of the entire webpage, which is then sectioned into
tiles – a la Microsoft Deepfish. But Mini 4 takes things a bit further – not only allowing you to zoom in to a particular tile for viewing, but also allowing you to interact with the tile.
There’s a new mouse interface that can be operated with your finger/stylus or directional pad or the keypad (2=up, 8=down, 4=left, 6=right). But, the nice thing is that moving the cursor over a hyperlink will cause the cursor to change and the link to highlight itself – making it nice and visible. Keep in mind, this is all after you’ve zoomed into a particular tile.
A new context menu (which changes it’s menu options), based on the browser’s current configuration, is activated with a 2-second hold on the “OK” button. You can change views and options through this handy context menu.
And, not only do the full-page renderings happen more quickly, the “Adaptive” rendering feature resizes the tile’s images and moves the text to make it easily viewable on the smaller, non-smartphone screens. The images are resized but text remains nice and big. Opera passes all data through their proxy servers and compresses the pages to 1/5 their original size – allowing for faster page-delivery, and faster page-renderings. The proxy servers keep the connection to your phone alive, speeding up page-load times by 2 seconds over the previous Opera Mini 3.
Daniel Goldman, from Opera, tells us that the new Mini 4 browser came from the idea that “there is only one web,” and that the Opera team “strongly believes [that] when you make something to work on the web, it should work…whether it’s on the phone, [Nintendo] wii, anything.” We gotta hand it to Opera on this one, they really did bring us a more desktop-like browsing experience that is, at once, more intuitive and quicker on the draw.
Sign up for the beta program, it’s open to everybody – except some Verizon phones (apparently there’s some third-party particulars that Verizon needs to work out with Opera). Give it a whirl, we promise you won’t be disappointed!
Oh, and by the way, keep an eye out for a brand new Adobe Flash replacement for Opera Mini Dimension. The Opera native format should make viewing embedded videos on any phone a cinch! We can’t say when, just keep an eye out.