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Opera tries to out-do the iPhone

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Opera has launched a beta of its mobile browser, Opera Mini: version 4 supports smooth zooming around web pages and server-based page optimisation, giving Opera claim to deliver the whole internet ahead of Apple's much-anticipated iPhone.

Version 4 of the Java-based browser also makes greater use of the keypad for navigation, freeing up directional keys for control of an on-screen pointer, but it is the zoom function which grabs the attention.

Newly loaded pages are presented in their entirety; complete but impossible to read, and Opera Mini tries to guess which part of the page you actually want to look at. Focus is shifted to that area, though you can use the directional keys to change it, and a smooth zoom then renders the content in a readable size.

Opera has produced a, slightly arrogant, video comparing its product with the iPhone. It highlights cross-phone compatibility and low cost compared to Apple's baby.

It might seem odd to compare a downloadable web browser to a phone handset, but if the iPhone is being sold on the premise that it's the first time the web has been truly navigable then it's fair for Opera to compare when it believes its product achieves the same thing.

Readers can try the beta of Opera Mini for themselves, those wanting to compare it to the iPhone will have to wait until the end of the month. ®

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