Opera have come out with Opera Mini [opera.com]. The difference between this and Opera's regular browser is that more phones, particularly WAP enabled phones, should be able to run this program like they run any other downloaded program.
Opera Mini™ is available to end-users through operators and companies that choose to include it in their offerings to their customers. It is currently available as a pilot project through TV2 in Norway, with wider availability to be announced.
Unfortunately, it's not downloadable from the opera.com site... I hope it's not long before Sprint starts to offer it. I also am very interested in what the response will be for regular desktop users, will they be more likely to switch over from IE or FF after using Opera on their phone?
It's an interesting idea - it appears that the have stripped out most of the browser features to make it lighter, but have made it that all page requests go through a proxy server there the usual Opera technologies (ie. Small Screen Rendering Mode) are "added". The resulting compressed, reformatted page is then sent to the phone.
Opera Software on Wednesday unveiled a cellular phone client and server that make it possible to access web pages with low-end cellular phones running a Java-based application platform.
The Opera Mini technology, which is based on Java 2 Mobile Edition standards, is meant as an alternative to the Norwegian company's regular mobile browser. The Mini targets the 700 million low- and mid-tier Java-capable phones worldwide that are currently incapable of running a web browser, the company said.
If this becomes more widespread it would enlarge considerably the pool of users connecting to sites via their phones. As the second article states, installation is as easy as installing a ringtone, and small-screen rendering is so much more powerful than WAP.
This is certainly a very good move on Opera's part - they are already the mobile browser specialists, and this will only increase their presence in this area.