Opera Mini, the Java ME web browser which provides the best possible mobile browsing experience on most phones is now available as a free download to users anywhere in the world. The browser, which uses a proxy to compress and reformat desktop websites for optimal usability on the small screens of mobile phones, has been undergoing a phased rollout. Initially Opera Mini was only available in Norway and later in all of Scandinavia.
If your phone and carrier supports over -the-air downloading of Java ME (aka. J2ME) applications (T-Mobile, Sprint and Cingular in the US do), point your WAP browser at http://mini.opera.com/my. If you phone is on the list of supported phones Opera will automatically direct you to a link to the proper version for your phone. If you phone is not on the list, don’t despair as Opera Mini works on almost all recent phones and even many older models. In the case of a non-supported phone, you will be given a choice of a low memory version or a high memory version. The low memory version is MIDP 1.0 and works on many more phones than the MIDP 2.0 high memory version so try it first. The only advantage of the high memory version seems to a nicer looking font but some users say it is slower than the low memory version. Visit Opera Mini’s support page (free registration required) for instructions, tips and a forum
Nextel and BoostMobile customers can’t download OTA and must load Opera Mini from a PC using a cable and software. The easiest way to get Opera Mini on your PC is to grab this .zip file from Mobile Read. The software, WebJal used to load Java apps onto Nextel and Boost phones is a little bit challenging to obtain, install and use. To get started with WebJal look at this Howard Forums thread.
Speaking of BoostMobile, the only US prepaid provider with affordable unlimited WAP, Opera Mini has been reported to work on all the i + 3 digit (i.e., i415, i450, i860, etc) Java-compatible Boost phones which includes all current Boost models. The combination of Boost’s 20 cent per day unlimited web access and Opera Mini is simply awesome. For $6.67 /month you get unlimited access to the entire web (not just WAP) on a handheld device. And it’s the web beautifully presented in full color with the original formating and all images resized to fit your phones screen thanks to Opera’s Small Screen Rendering ™. There is no better mobile browsing deal in the world. See this HowardForum’s thread for more on running Opera Mini on Boost.
Speaking of unlimited access, you really do want to have an unlimited data plan to use Opera Mini. Although Opera Mini sends the Web to your phone in compressed binary form minimizing bandwidth, the experience is so addictive that you will run up a very big bill if you pay for data by the kilobyte.