Feeds

Opera Mobile for Android: it's no Fatfox

Chunky Mozilla browser shamed

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Update: Opera now says that the install size of Opera for Android will be about 20MB and that the download size is 6.5MB. This story has been updated accordingly.

Opera Mobile won't show up on Android as fat as Firefox 4.

Late last week, Mozilla released an obese Firefox 4 beta that required about 40MB of storage space – no small thing when you consider that so many Android phones are limited to between 64 and 512MB of app storage.

Mozilla blames at least part of Firefox's fatness on the Android native development kit, which forces the open source outfit to save the browser's rendering files in two places: inside its Android package (APK) file and in a folder on the handset.

But according to Opera Mobile and Mini product manager Phillips Gronvold, Open Mobile for Android will have an install size of 20MB (after a 6.5MB download).

"We have fifteen years of experience putting browsers on small devices," he tells The Reg. As the company announced yesterday at a press event in Oslo, Norway, the browser will arrive in the Android app marketplace place within the month.

The Norwegians already offer an Android incarnation of their low-bandwidth Opera Mini browser, which taps into Opera proxy servers that intercept and compress web pages before sending them down to the handset. But it has yet to offer the more complete Opera Mobile browser on the Google operating system. Opera Mobile is capable of accessing the web through those same proxy servers, but it can also directly access the net, downloading pages in full.

Yes, Mozilla is working to shrink its fat Firefox. Developer Michael Wu is fashioning a dynamic linker that can load the rendering libraries from the APK without copying them to a folder. And according to Mozilla, this will cut the installation size by more than half. But it will increase startup time, and however small it gets, we still question Mozilla's position on mobiles.

The Firefox alpha for Android was practically unusable. Even if you can spare the space for the beta, its performance is still shockingly poor. The browser will never be available on the iPhone. And it has landed on only one other mobile platform: Nokia Maemo.

As difficult a time as Mozilla faces on the desktop with Google now playing the browser game, it's facing a far greater battle on mobiles. There was good reason to adopt Firefox on the desktop in the mid oughts. But the modern mobile browser market has panned out quite differently.

Mozilla's position is in stark contrast to the mobileness of Opera, which already has a strong foothold on handsets thanks in large part to the low-bandwidth Opera Mini, a browser that's right at home on good old fashioned feature phones.

On Thursday, in Oslo, the company laid claim to 71 million active Opera Mini users, and Gronvold tells us that this only includes those who've used the browser at least once in the past thirty days. Opera Mini is even available on the iPhone. Thanks to those proxy servers, it doesn't interpret code on the Jobsian holy handheld.

Since the Apple app police approved Opera Mini for the Jesus Phone in April, Jobs has "clarified" developer rules for the device, and among other things, the new laws say that: "Apps that browse the web must use the iOS WebKit framework and WebKit Javascript." Gronvold acknowledges the new phrase worries Opera a bit. But he contends that in a sense, Opera Mini isn't browsing the web. It's merely receiving compressed pages from a proxy server.

But even if the ever capricious Apple police bring the hammer on Mini, Opera is better placed on mobiles than a certain other browser maker. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Next Windows obsolescence panic is 450 days from … NOW!
The clock is ticking louder for Windows Server 2003 R2 users
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.