Opera eyes Africa’s growing Internet market
For non-gadget geeks and aged people like my mother, mentioning the word “opera” mostly evoke the octogenarian Sydney Opera House.For a teenager schooling somewhere in the lovely and beautiful continent of Africa, Opera is the browser that she has been using on her mobile phone for the last two years. The browser, Opera Mini, is very popular in Africa and has been ranked as one of most used in the continent that has more internet users using their mobile than desktop or laptop. A 2012 report said that it’s easier to download images using Opera Mini on mobile than any other browser. In countries where Opera browser is the darling of the young internet users, few of them have no idea that Opera also has browsers for desktop computers and smart televisions.Currently, the Norwegian firm behind the software offers Opera mini for phones; the Apple desktops and laptops, Opera browser for Windows, Opera TV, a browser for the Sony Bravia televisions made by Japanese company Sony.I was recently chosen as a tester for Opera and decided to test how good the browser is, and paid a visit to an electronic shop and learned that all Sony Bravia sets can use Opera TV browser to arrange favorite programs in one tab and children’s program in another just like tabs on a regular computer browser.
In the recent past, Opera launched its Opera Coast browser for the iPhone and iPad, offering a different interface and tidy full-screen surfing experience. Coast requires only a thumb to operate and the button usage is minimised with intuitive gesture controls. It also offers easier syncing. After its success in developing Opera mini, which was introduced nine years ago, the company has been focusing on developing desktop browsers. Like Opera mini, the full Opera browser has better image compression, saving time due to faster page loading.The browser is a good match with the emerging African market, where Internet bandwidth is still limited. With the Internet capacity still slow, Opera believes that it will make browsing faster, as the data would go to our server first and then go to your computers. However, just like all other browsers, user security is a main concern of designers, as the browser would remind users if data or images to be downloaded might harm their computers but for mobile users that has not yet been made clear. The number of people across Africa using Opera browsers has reached about 50 million, versus total global numbers of close to estimated 400 million. Unlike other browsers, Opera presents tabs in cubic forms and a new tab would be presented in square with photos, not just a title or website address. I tested the iPhone version and the design is more beautiful and personalised and simple.Kudos to the Opera team.