The Browsers In Mobile Devices Computer Science Essay

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In nowadays mobile devices are tend to be an integral part to our life. We are trying to follow its improvement in order to make our life easier, seeking information and any type of help from our small mobile devices. They are designed to provide information, entertainment and location-based services for personal use. Mobile internet is very important aspect to the mobile devices. Without mobile internet you cannot use the internet connected applications or browse to the web. There were about 40 million users accessing the mobile Internet at least once a month on May 2008. This number increased by 73% over a period of two years (2006-2008) [1].

Some of the browsers in mobile devices are Dolphin, Firefox for mobile(released for Nokia), Blazer(install on all newer Palm and PDAs), Android Browser, Net front, Myriad Browser, Obigo Browser, Safari(on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad), Skyfire and Opera mini mobile(capable of reading HTML and reformat for small screens)

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I use Opera mini and this is the application that I am going to evaluate in order to give you an idea how opera mini works to mobile devices and why I prefer it from all the other browsers. I consider myself as expert to technology and even I have not had a smartphone 5 months ago I learnt very quickly how smartphone works and after trying a lot of browsers I conclude to the opera mini which is faster, smarter and easier to use. Opera mini browser was one of the first browsers for mobile devices which are released. It is released in 2000 and today tends to be one of the most popular browsers for the mobile devices. The graph bellow shows the total data consumed by Opera Mini users worldwide from 2006 to 2008 [2].

Opera mini is a server based technology that the server goes and imposes the information. It has more than 50 million customers. It is the fastest browser, with double touch tab you can zoom and unzoom, it is multitasking (multiple tab browsing), you can view bookmarks and history and the most important even it is free it can save you money.

Opera can save you money on your phone bills by reducing your data usage substantially. Opera mini uses only a tenth of the bandwidth of other browsers compressing web pages by up to 90% [3]. For example opera uses less effort in order to display the web pages to your mobile device and this why it compress web pages while they are being downloaded by the server. That means web pages are displayed very fast because of their size which is getting smaller and the cost of downloading web pages is very low.

Opera is faster to load pages especially bookmarked pages. Moreover is better for pages with complex layouts (rich HTML context). It is very fast cause of the opera�s streamlined rendering engine and server-side compression which allows opera to load web pages much more quickly. Opera rendering engine displays complete web pages just like on your computer. If you use an opera browser to your computer you can synchronize it with the opera mini to your mobile device. Whatever you bookmarked to your computer and the history can be synchronized with your mobile device and vice versa. That means once you download the opera and synchronizes it with your computer it is like you use your pc�s browser and whatever you search and save it will be displayed to your pc at the bookmark or at the history settings.

Furthermore it allows you to switch between portrait and landscape mode, where it will rotate the page 90 degrees, and also lets you adjust the font size for easier reading (fonts can be set to small, medium, large or extra-large). The landscape is very useful for screens that are taller than they are wide. Opera mini allows you to change the image quality which you are going to use for the web pages. It may be set to medium, low or high but you have to assume that the higher the quality of image is the more data is transferred and the longer it will take to be displayed to your screen. Furthermore it allows you to switch the mobile view which it makes the web page to fit to your small screen without zooming to the area that you want to read. This is done by reflowing a page�s layout to a single column.

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The default search engine is Google and Wikipedia but user is able to use other additional search engines except of these two. Opera mini features a search bar capable of using several pre-configured search engines [4].

Who wants a browser that doesn�t provide him the security between his mobile device and the proxy server? It is very important aspect for mobile devices which are using several browsers. Opera mini solves this problem by using an encryption security between mobile device and proxy server. The encryption key is obtained on the first start by requesting that the user press random keys a certain number of times. If user connects to a public Wi-Fi is very risky to the user because there is a possibility that someone with bad intentions will spy on you (in the public networks is very easy for someone to spy you).

Opera mini uses encryptions which even if your internet connection is wide open (public Wi-Fi) anyone who tried to capture your private details would just get a small mass of encrypted text which it cannot be decrypted. Opera mini supports completely normal direct security with your bank or PayPal account in the same way as a desktop browser. You can do your payment for any bill through your mobile device which is using opera mini without to be afraid that maybe your personal details (credentials) will be taken by somebody (attacker) who uses the same public network.

However opera mini and opera browser for desktops don�t stop there. They are trying to improve security using other mechanism such as strong dynamic encryption, excellent certificate checking and use of third-party trust networks [5]. Opera browser for desktop is considered the most security in 2009. Opera mini is one of the safest browsers. Moreover there is a password manager so you don�t have to enter your username and your password over and over again

One of the best features of opera mini browser is the speed dial. The speed dial allows you to see your top web sites visually lay out on your screen and load them with a quick tap. Speed dial can also be synchronized with the opera browser of the desktop pc in order to have the same pages on your screen. With this feature you can use the browser faster without typing your favourite pages� URL addresses over and over again.

Another one feature of the opera mini is the multitasking with tabs. You can keep a lot of pages at the same time and easily switch between them using tabs. You can open a link in a new tab by just pressing on them just like your computer. Moreover it allows you to see a preview of the open tabs (a thumbnail of each tab you have opened).

Opera uses URL auto-completion for easier and faster access to the web pages. Opera mini guesses what URL you are typing in the address field allowing you to start loading that site after entering only a few letters. This functionality works by keeping track of each web page you have entered before so after a time you revisit the current web pages opera mini stores them and allow you to view the whole address by entering just the initial letters of the web page.

You can back up your bookmarks, speed dials and search engines so even your mobile device is destroyed you are going to take your favourite web sites and upload them to your computer or to your new (or repaired) mobile device. Furthermore you can manage your downloads in the way you like. Opera�s mini download feature is very easy to use for everyone because it is the most advanced download manager available for mobile browsers. You can download files, pictures and music and keep track of their progress from downloads manager. You can even pause your downloads and resume them whenever you want. Opera mini allows you to manage your privacy. You are able to clear history, bookmarks, cache, etc.

However there are some improvements that must be done in order to be better and more efficient. Mobile technology as we know is developed very rapidly and some key features must be taken care of the opera mini browser. For example opera mini does not support flash. This is a huge disadvantage because there are a lot of web sites that are using adobe flash. Adobe flash is a multimedia platform used to add animation, video, and interactivity to web pages. It is used for advertisements and games [6].

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Moreover even if you close the application (opera mini) it still runs on the background so you have to force close it in the settings. If opera mini is working in the background it holds a lot of RAM and it reduces your battery life very fast. The opera mini runs in the RAM about 2mb (however android browser uses 8mb of RAM).

Another one feature which it may be very useful for the users who use the opera mini browser is the ability to show you how many megabytes are being used while you are using the opera mini browser. This feature will allow to users to see which websites afford too many data (megabytes) in order to be displayed to the user. The more megabytes you use the more you are going to pay. So even if the opera mini saves you money by compressing the websites; with this feature user can save more money. For example if I am using a website which needs 5 mb in order to be displayed I am not going to use this website continuously or I will try to find an alternative website which is very similar and needs less data (megabytes) in order to be displayed.

Furthermore I don�t like when I scroll down the web page and the page drifts to the right or to the left. It should be �locked �while is scrolling up or down. Sometimes pinch zoom doesn�t work. I have to pinch twice in order to zoom the area which I pinch. Fonts must be improved because I found a lot of websites which are rendering with bad quality of fonts. It will be better if opera mini allows you to copy (words) in the web page and paste them wherever you want

In conclusion I am going to summarize briefly why I choose the opera mini as my default browser and why I am so happy of using it. Opera mini is very good choice because it has a password manager, a download manager, a predictive manager, accelerometer support for switch to landscape mode, virtual keyboard which is very easy to focus and use it, smooth animations in user interface, visual tabs, kinetic scrolling, hot keys for easier use the web pages.

Moreover it has cookie support, adjustable text size, toggle for loading images; you can view your web pages in full screen, bookmarks, history and saved pages for offline viewing and it is available in 39 languages. Opera mini is a great time saver when you stuck on a slow connection. Comparing with the android browser it contains more features and in my opinion every android device should have the opera mini browser installed.