Wearable Tech World Feature Article
October 07, 2014

Opera Mini Gives Samsung Gear S Complete Web Browser

One of the downsides of smartwatches is that there's often a need to connect said devices to a smartphone to get much in the way of use out of same. But the Samsung Gear S, powered by a Tizen-based operating system, may well be able to step things up a bit and give users a bit more power right on the wrist thanks to Opera, whose Opera Mini browser is set to be the first such browser on the Samsung Gear S, giving users that much more value in the wearable tech.

Opera Mini already has an excellent position among users out there, with over 250 million monthly users in play. But what may not be readily apparent is that Opera Mini has a particular value to it for the smartwatch market in the form of built-in compression technology that can shrink a website down to 10 percent of its natural size. This makes for a good quality browsing experience for the user as well as an energy-efficient experience.

Opera Mini, meanwhile, also offers some critical features for mobile users, particularly in the form of features described as being more “finger-friendly.” Specifically, Opera Mini leads off with a Smart Page where social updates and up-to-the-minute news alike are located on one screen, and the Speed Dial system offers website shortcuts in the form of large buttons, where, essentially, users press a button to be connected with a website. Better yet, there are private browsing options that allow the device to completely forget what sites have been visited. Just to top it all off, Opera Mini will be available from Samsung Gear Apps at no charge, so users will be able to find out if Opera Mini works out without having to invest a slug of cash into the affair.

Opera Software CEO, Lars Boilesen, offered up some comment ahead of the release, saying “As a lightweight but powerful browser maker, Opera has been a pioneer of making the web accessible across a huge variety of connected devices, such as the Internet keyboard, the dual-screen handheld game console, VoIP phones and, now, wearable device. We are thrilled that Opera Mini will be the first browser for Samsung Gear S users to download. This is an exciting, new experience for smart-gear users.”

All of these points, along with the basic design, add up to one critical point: there's a lot in here that makes Opera Mini extremely valuable as a Web browsing tool, particularly when it comes to a device like the Samsung Gear S, which doesn't have a lot of screen real estate. Being able to take advantage of the screen size that's there makes it a more valuable experience for the user; essentially, Opera Mini is lighting a candle rather than cursing the darkness of a small-size screen, and that end result not only serves to make Opera Mini more valuable, but also the Samsung Gear S, which puts it to work.

Will the use of Opera Mini make the smartwatch sufficiently valuable to potential users to drive more of said users into the Samsung Gear S' camp? Only time will tell just how well this works out for Samsung and Opera, but it's a pretty safe bet that this new coalition will prove to be very valuable indeed.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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