I choose to give Firefox for Android a test drive a few days ago and decided give Opera for Android a shot too. After searching the Android Market, I was a bit confused to find two apps: Opera Mini and Opera Mobile. The difference between the two was not entirely clear. After looking into the matter a bit further, I found some interesting details on a recent Opera’s blog entry.
For starters, it turns out that Opera Mini and Opera Mobile both run on the following three platforms: Android, S60 (Symbian OS), and Windows Mobile. BlackBerry and iOS users only have the choice of Opera Mini while MeeGo users only have the option of Opera Mobile. With two apps overlapping across three platforms, what is the difference anyways?
When someone traditionally visits a webpage, their browser generally requests information directly from the respective server. Interestingly enough, things work differently when using Opera Mini. This app actually sends the wanted website to Opera’s servers for some heavy-duty compression. This means a faster web browsing experience on slow networks and bandwidth savings for those pay by the megabyte. On the other hand, Opera Mobile is a full-blown browser. This app is perfect for those with fast networks speeds and powerful hardware. With a rendering engine running on your device, Opera Mobile offers a web browsing experience comparable to a desktop computer.
If you have an Android device or one of the other two platforms which support both Opera Mini and Opera Mobile, I definitely recommend giving both a try.