Tag Archives: Android
On Monday Opera Software released Opera Mini 7.5.2 for Android. It was mostly a bug fix release but also included font changes. I noticed that the fonts on many sites were smaller in the new release. The new fonts made text on the effected sites hard to read and I immediately went back to the previous 7.5.1 version. Play Store reviews of the new version were largely negative as were comments on Opera's own forums.
Today Opera released Opera Mini Android version 7.5.3 to address the font size issue. I upgraded to the new version and can confirm that font sizes are larger in 7.5.3 (third image, above) than they were in 7.5.2 (middle image) but are still a little smaller than in 7.5.1 (first image). Click the images to view them in their original size. I find the new fonts readable. According to a post on the Opera Mini Forum the changes in 7.5.3 are:
- Font size and page layout improvements
- Fixed crash on http://www.drudgereport.com/
The new version identifies itself as 7.5.33361 in the browser's Help > About Menu. It's available now from the Android Play Store. I wasn't able to find a direct apn download on opera.com. Users without Play Store access download a copy from WapReview here: Opera Mini_7.5.3.apk (7.5.33361)
Related Post: Opera Mini For Android Updated to Version 7.5.2
Opera Software has updated Opera Mini for Android. Opera calls the new release 7.5.2, although the version number on the browser's Help > About screen is 7.5.33286. The previous 7.5.1 version was 7.5.32193 internally.
According to a post by an Opera employee on the My Opera - Opera Mini Forum the changes in this release are:
- Improved font calculation method
- Improved fonts for hi-res devices
- Page layout improvements
- Various stabilization fixes
I upgraded to the new release on several devices. There definitely are some font changes. The font on many pages is noticeably smaller. The screenshots of the dabr.co.uk Twitter web app (above) and the My Opera Forum below show the difference. In both sets of images, the first one shows the old version and the second the new one. My old eyes prefer the previous version. I recommend you backup Opera Mini using an app like the free ES File Explorer before upgrading in case you don't like the changes.
Opera Mini 7.5.2 is available now in the Google Play store. Opera's forum post claims that it "...will be available on our servers later". I hope that's true, however Opera.com's download page hasn't offered direct downloads of any of Opera's mobile browsers since it was redesigned earlier this year.
For anyone without Google Play access, I've put a copies of the new Opera Mini 7.5.2 on the WapReview server for you to download: Opera Mini_7.5.2.apk (ver 7.5.33286).
And if you upgraded to 7.52 without heading my warning to backup the old version first, here's the previous version: Opera Mini_7.5.1.apk (ver 7.5.32193).
Other than having smaller fonts the new release seems good. It reportedly works better on tablets and may have even fixed the Black Screen of Death bug that afflicted the last couple of Opera Mini Android releases. That bug manifested itself when you restored Opera Mini to the foreground after it had been in the background for awhile. The screen would be completely back with no user interface at all. The only way to recover was to terminate Opera Mini with a task manager app or from the Android Manage Applications screen.
Opera Software has released an initial Beta of a new version of Opera Mobile for Android that's based on the open source Webkit browser engine instead of Opera's own Presto engine. Opera is winding down Presto development and will eventually use Webkit for all its products.
The new release, called Opera 14 Beta, is available now in Google Play for devices running Android 2.3 and latter. It was announced in a post today on the My Opera - Opera Mobile For Android forum.
According to the post, what's new in this version is:
- everything :)
- New UI
- Improved Speed Dial, all your bookmarks and saved pages in the same place
- Discover, a new way to discover content and collect news
- Off-road mode, Opera Mini compression built-in
- Omnibar, combined search and URL field, with auto-completion
- no support for tablets bigger than 7.5 inches
- problems with localized strings not fitting into places
- problems with rendering 'Discover' section on Samsung Galaxy Y
- crashes on start on Samsung Galaxy S2 with Android 2.3.5
- crash on start on Motorola RAZR device
- hardware back key issues on Samsung Galaxy Y
- display issues on HTC One S (Android 4.0.4)
I tried the Opera Mobile Beta on a Motorola Photon running Android 2.3.4. Performance on this older Tegra 2 based device seemed quite good with fast page loads and no apparent user interface lag. Rendering seemed accurate on the pages I tried and I didn't encounter operational issues with any site. I did experience one crash in about an hour's worth of browsing, not bad for a first beta.
As expected in an initial Beat release there are lots of missing features. The most glaring omissions are:
- No text reflow after pinch zooming
- No bookmarks
- No Opera Link
The user interface changes are a bit of a mixed bag. I like the unified search and address bar and being able to create folders on the Speed Dial page. But I miss full screen mode and the ability to create custom searches. I'm not a fan of the new tab picker. It only shows four tabs at a time and requires double tapping to select a tab. The end result is that it takes more taps and swipes to switch tabs, and making users work harder is never a good thing.
The Discover feature (images below), which is essentially an RSS reader, looks great and is easy to use, but I wish it let me choose individual feeds rather than only being able to pick from a fixed set of curated categories.
Overall, I'm quite pleased with the Opera Webkit Beta. It's very polished, stable and fast for an early Beta. It's usable as is, although the lack of text reflow and bookmarks (or a way to import them) keeps it from being my daily driver for now.
Mozilla released Firefox 19 this week for Windows, OSx, Linux and Android. The release notes list the new features in the Android release as:
- Support for more HTML5 and CSS3 features
- Themes support
- Support for Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese localizations
- Lower Minimum hardware requirements (600MHz CPU, 512 MB RAM, HVGA) to support more devices
- Bug fixes
While I was poking around in the menus I noticed an option in the settings menu that I don't remember seeing before, "Pinch to reflow text". It's disabled by default, When you turn it on, text reflows to fit the window as you zoom in and out.
Reflow has always been a feature of the stock Android Browser, Opera Mobile and most other Android browsers, but not Firefox Mobile. It's a real eyesaver on some some desktop sites that are almost unreadable because of a combination of wide text columns and small font sizes. The screen shots above show an example on XDA-Developers. The left image shows how the site looks when you double tap to initially fit the page's text to the window. The font size is so small that I found it a hard to read. No problem, just zoom in a bit and Firefox reflows the text so it still fits the window and horizontal scrolling isn't needed.
I did notice a couple of somewhat annoying issues with Firefox's reflow. For one, the browser doesn't maintain the current scroll position as you zoom in. If you are at the bottom of a long page and zoom in the browser will jump back to the middle of the page and you will have to scroll back down to find your place. The second issue is that zooming on one tab tends to effect the zoom levels on other tabs. Neither if Pinch to reflow text is turned off. Hopefully these problems will be fixed in a future release, text reflow on zoom is a really useful feature when browsing on small screens.