Opera launches public beta of data-saving app

Opera Max squeezes the net into mobiles

Smartphone user on Tube

Norwegian browser-maker Opera Software has announced a limited public beta of Opera Max – a new app designed to let users get more out of limited data plans.

Opera has offered "off-road mode" in its browser for a while now, with the feature promising to reduce the amount of data consumed by the application. Last year turned that trick into a standalone app that could reduce data consumption by all apps on a mobile device. After a successful limited trial launched in December last year, the Oslo-based firm has decided to open it up to Android users in the US and Western Europe, with a public beta officially kicking off on Tuesday.

Opera Max is a free app which uses a VPN to measure data usage on a user’s phone. It then routes any non-encrypted data requests through Opera’s servers, compressing video, images and websites so that they use less data.

The idea is to give users, especially those on restricted data plans, the chance to use more data than they would normally be allowed to by their network provider.

However, it only works for non-encrypted traffic, so will not be any use for certain big name HTTPS-loving apps like Facebook, Opera explained.

Anyone keen to sign up must have Android v4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) installed, and Opera noted access will be on a first-come-first-served basis. ®

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