Opera Mini 2.0 aims to simplify mobile commerce

Opera Mini 2.0, released Wednesday, makes it easier for users to buy mobile content, Opera said.

Opera Software said Wednesday that it aims to make it easier for mobile users to buy ringtones and other mobile content with the availability of the Opera Mini 2.0 browser.

A new feature in Opera Mini 2.0 removes a step often required of mobile users who buy mobile content. Some mobile content providers sell ringtones or images by asking customers to send a specified word via text message to a certain number. The buyers then receive the content via text message and are billed for the purchase on their regular accounts.

The new Opera Mini 2.0 feature skips the initial text message requirement. When Opera Mini 2.0 users visit a content provider's site and decide to purchase a ringtone, for example, they can click on a link to buy it. Opera Mini 2.0 automatically sends the appropriate text message so that the user doesn't have to navigate away from the Web page, enter the messaging application and send the message. The content is then delivered to the buyer via text message and the user is billed for the ringtone as agreed, typically via regular bill.

In order to enable the service, content providers must include specific scripts on their Web sites. The sites will then detect when a visitor is using Opera Mini 2.0 and enable the shortened buying procedure.

Opera will soon begin reaching out to content providers and offering them instructions on implementing the code, said Eskil Silvertsen, a spokesman for Opera.

Opera Mini 2.0 has a few other new features as well. Users can now download files such as MP3s and images to their phones. Previously, Opera Mini didn't allow downloads.

Also, with the latest software users can choose a default search engine from a drop-down menu. The previous version came with Google as the default search engine. Another new feature is a speed-dial bookmark capability that allows users to assign two-key codes that will open up a Web page. The feature lets users get to Web pages quicker than navigating through bookmarks, Silvertsen said.

Opera Mini is a small browser application that can be downloaded for free to any Java-enabled mobile phone. When users visit Web sites, remote Opera servers strip down the size of the sites, making them load quicker and look better on the small screens of mobile phones. Opera Mini is being used by 2.5 million people who view more than 4 million pages every day, Silvertsen said.

Opera also allows other companies to offer self-branded and customized versions of Opera Mini to their customers. T-Mobile International is including a self-branded version of Opera Mini on certain mobile phones. A handful of other distributors and operators are also promoting Opera Mini.

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