Opera was the browser of choice for us hip kids during the Windows Mobile days. Back then, data compression was helpful because we often had slow Edge and baby 3G networks to browse on. Opera would squish that data down, and pages would load and render faster on those old phones. Nowadays, we have access to much faster 3G and 4G networks, but many of us have plans which include data caps, so data compression serves a different (yet equally useful) purpose, especially if you do a lot of browsing on your phone or cell network enabled tablet.
Opera Max is in open BETA now, and Opera is looking for testers using Android 4.0 or newer phones and tablets. Utilizing a Virtual Private Network, where Opera squishes data down for you before sending it out to your device, they claim they can shave a considerable chunk of data usage off your monthly tally. Especially as this set up will work for any non-encrypted data you receive, it’ll also help reduce data usage for a variety of apps and services you might use on your device. That’s right, not just data through your browser, but all data streaming to your phone.
It’s a little similar to how Blackberries used to handle network connections, sending through RIM servers before delivering to the handset. One of the tools which made BB so formidable during the early days of smartphone use. I’ve been a big fan of improving network efficiency, and this could be one way in which we end users can help reduce the load on cell towers.
If you’d like to try out the BETA, the full details are on the Opera Max site!