OK, sorry about the headline…I couldn’t resist. I have been using Opera Mini on my Blackberry 8830 recently, and let me tell you, it is a huge leap forward in mobile browsing for most phones. Granted, it isn’t as exciting or gravity defying as Safari for the iPhone, but for the average phone, the pick and zoom interface is an enormous upgrade to the traditional mobile web browsing experience.

I have been using the mobile internet since 1999 and my Palm VII, but Opera Mini really makes a difference in my browsing experience. It makes the mobile internet a reality. In October, the Boston Red Sox won their second world championship in the last 4 years. Fun. As it so happened, they had a parade to celebrate. My family and I run out to see the parade. Because I was in charge of the activity, there was little planning or forethought before we ran out the door. We had a vague idea of where the parade was and so we left. My wife asks me where we should watch the parade from, and I give her an intersection in downtown Boston. We get there and as it turns out, everyone else on the eastern seaboard decided that was the best spot to watch the parade from too. It was too crowded and my 5 year old baseball crazt son wouldn’t be able to see his deity, Dice-K. So, we decided to move. My wife asked me what the parade route was, and I had no idea. Because I am brilliant, I ask her for her mobile phone, a trusty RAZR. I go to Boston.com on her device…and I get a WAP page that hasn’t been updated since the previous day. I know that Boston.com has all the stuff that I need on it…but I can’t get to it through WAP. I reach deep into my briefcase and pull out my 8830. I try using the Blackberry browser, and I get a very modest rendition of Boston.com, but can’t see the map image. It is too small. I try again with Opera Mini, and, presto, I get the page and map of the parade route that I can zoom in on. I spot another intersection on the map, we pack up the kids and the stroller and race to the perfect viewing spot. Relatively uncluttered, and much closer to the action, my son jumps up and down with joy and delight as he sees Dice-K roll by.

Since that minute, I have kicked the native Blackberry browser and used Opera Mini exclusively. It is speedy, and functional…and maybe even elegant. It works. Give it a shot. (And if you decide to use Opera as your browser on your PC too, there are some very neat synching features too.)

It’s free. Give it a try. Opera Mini

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