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Opera Mini makes 4.2

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Opera Mini has found its way onto the Android Market with version 4.2, an incremental release that increases execution speed as well as linking to native media players and bringing back the skinning feature that vanished with version 4.

Non-Android owners can download the browser in the old-fashioned way, but Android users can use the Market to get their copy direct and experience faster web browsing than that offered by the Ajax-based browser bundled with Google's platform.

Opera Mini is Java-ME-based, which made porting it to Android a pretty trivial task - and certainly much easier than porting the C-based Opera Mobile. In fact, the development team use a Java ME emulator that runs on top of the Java SE engine Android supports.

But even given the distance from the hardware - running on an emulator running on a virtual machine - there's nothing wrong with Mini for basic browsing. The use of a proxy server to compress content makes for a faster experience, particularly where connectivity isn't as fast as one might hope, as long as one avoids the more AJAX-inclined sites.

Opera Mini runs on the vast majority of mobile phones, and can be downloaded from Opera for free as well as being available on the Android Market - which is a good thing as the Android Market still lacks any mechanism for paying for software. ®

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