Opera unveils compression service for speedier browsing

By Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service |  Internet, opera

Opera Thursday unveiled a compression service it said speeds up browsing the Web on its mobile and desktop browsers.

Opera Turbo compresses the bandwidth of text and data files on Web sites by 80 percent, the company said. It is now available to business customers, such as mobile handset providers and network operators, through the Opera Desktop, Opera Mobile and Opera Devices software development kits, so they can build the service into browsers on PCs and mobile devices.

Delivered via Opera's servers, Opera Turbo is best suited to improve browsing on mobile devices and on the desktop when using low-bandwidth connections to the Internet, said Julie Sajnani, a communications manager for Opera.

She declined to say if any customers are using the service. Opera will be demonstrating the service at its booth in Hall 2, Stand 2B77 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week.

End-users can enable Opera Turbo on browsers that have the service enabled to compress Web sites for faster browsing, but Sajnani said their experience will not be diminished in any way. "There is no compromise on the user experience," she said. "They'll still see the same page."

Web-based files that leverage multimedia technology, such as Flash files or Ajax files, will not be compressed, Sajnani added.

Opera will have separate servers doing the compression for Opera Turbo than it does for the compression of files on its Opera Mini browser, Sajnani said. End-users can enable Opera Turbo through whatever Opera browser they are using if it is enabled with the service.

The service not only improves browsing for end-users, it also has benefits for the operators and original equipment manufacturers who use it, Sajnani said. Handset providers will have to worry less about a device's memory constraints when users download files because they are compressed, she said. Compression also relieves the bandwidth burden of network operators, Sajnani said.

Eventually, the company will offer a version of Opera Turbo directly to consumers, she added.

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