The Opera Mini browser is one of Opera's three browsers for mobile devices. Compared to the regular Opera mobile browser and Opera Coast for iOS, Opera Mini aims to save mobile data usage by compressing web pages to as little as 10 percent of the original size.
The latest Android update, Opera Mini 8, is a complete redesign of the browser, both visually and in terms of functionality. Most of the updates seem to already be in the iOS version of Opera Mini, so it was only a matter of time before they came to Android.
Gone are the black bars that bordered the top and bottom of the screen. Those are replaced with a flat, white background. The space at the top is now dominated by the search bar, where you can also type in website URLs.
The forward and back buttons, the tabs and Speed Dial pages, and Opera settings are now located at the bottom of the screen. However, it seems that some of the buttons, such as the Opera settings and the number of tabs, can be placed next to the search bar at the top, as well. Opera Mini is also able to scale to support different resolutions and devices, so pages will look nice whether you're viewing them in portrait or landscape mode on your Android mobile or tablet device.
Speed Dial is the space allocated for local bookmarks on Opera Mini, and it now includes content at the bottom of the screen from the Discover section, which provides top stories from various categories.
Speaking of the Discover feature, it's also been updated to include even more content so that you can stay up-to-date with your favorite topics. Users can also filter by category in the Discover section, as well as dictate which categories show up in your Discover feed.
A default option on many browsers is private browsing, and Opera finally added it to Opera Mini. In contrast to the regular white background for normal browsing, it displays a dark gray background to show that you're now using the privacy feature.
The main goal of Opera Mini is to bring down data usage costs when browsing the Internet, and this latest update includes a new data counter to show how much data you save every day. If you didn't believe that Opera Mini could save valuable usage data, then the visual representation of the data saved should be more than sufficient proof. After all, seeing is believing.
This latest update comes at the same time as the company's announcement of new user target goals. According to Opera CEO Lars Boilesen, Opera has a user base of 130 million on Android devices alone. Boilesen hopes to grow that number to 275 million users by 2017. A part of that strategy seems to be ensuring that Opera Mini not only continues to function just as well as other browsers, but that it also has a visual appeal that will attract more users.