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Java Opera poses smartphone challenge

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Opera, which owes much of its success to its smart-phone browsers, today offers a reason not to buy a smart phone. The Norwegian company will take the wraps off its Mini browser: a Java applet that can run on around 700m phones.

Opera Mini uses a proxy server to format the content to low power, small-screen devices. The company had initially rolled out the service just to telcos, but it's now expected to be available to the public. Such is the pitiful state of mobile data today, outside of moneyspinners like SMS and ringtones, the telcos are grateful for the revenue.

So it's the death of WAP, finally, but is it the death of the smartphone too?

Nokia and Sony Ericsson have other ideas, with the Finns touting VoIP and file-sharing as key features of their smart phones based on Symbian's EKA2 kernel. All Symbian devices going forward use the real-time kernel, which allows the manufacturer the choice of a lower cost device or more features, and brings battery life into line with today's mid-range not-so-smart phones.

Most of Nokia's forthcoming E and N series phones have Wi-Fi, and some also feature UPnP device discovery - indicating that the company not only has ambitions on the iPod but living room remote control too

And it can't have escaped the attention of the folks in Norway that Nokia is developing its own browser for Symbian, based on KDE code. ®

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