Data Compression On Mobile Web Browsers Is The Future

I did a brief hands-on of the new Opera Browser Beta recently. That’s the Webkit version of the famous Opera Mini and/or Mobile. I am not sure yet whether this new browser is going to be an amalgamation of both into one single Opera browser across various mobile platforms, or the two will continue to be developed in parallel as before.

I have been using this exclusively as the browser on my smartphone for a week, and it is interesting to see that in so doing, I have not exhausted the basic 200MB data plan that I subscribed to at the beginning of the experiment. How? By turning on Off-Road Mode. To be sure, I also refused to carry out any app updates on the Android smartphone that I am reviewing. However, I had my mails and social media apps all running as always.

But there is no question that where a web browser lets you save as much as 86% data in regular use, that is some significant input in keeping data consumption low. Consider that where I would have used up 54.8MB of data, Opera Browser Beta cut it down to a decent 7.7MB and that tells a big story:

Saving Data With Off-Road Mode

Subscribing to a 100MB or 200MB plan and running a browser like Opera Browser Beta means that in all probability that small data allocation can last a full month.

Opera. Nokia and Google Too

It is then no wonder that other manufacturers and developers are exploring thee data compression browser market. Not too long ago, Nokia launched their Xpress Browser which has data compression enabled for both Asha and Lumia devices. Even more recently we saw a beta version of Android’s Chrome browser with the same feature built-in.

Who stands to benefit? Everyone! Networks will experience less pressure on their already stressed capacity and facilities. Users will save on both data/cost and page loading time. Yes; they will lose some advanced functionality, but the good thing is that the feature can be implemented with an option to turn it on and off as needed (as is done on Opera Browser Beta). Manufacturers will sell, as users with need for data and cost savings will adopt their platforms and devices. Make no mistake about it, the money at the bottom of the pyramid is huge and these brands are going after them.

Nokia Xpress Browser

For now, it is clear that web browser data compression is coming to Android. While it already exists via a third party browser like Opera’s, when implemented in the built-in Chrome browser, uptake will increase. Data compression also already exists on Asha’s default browser and on Lumia (Windows Phone) as a third party. It is also interesting that it is at a time that other brands are embracing data compression that BlackBerry has dropped it.

Opera Browser Beta has been a very good companion to me in the last one week. Everyone looking to save web browsing costs ought to give it or any of the other alternatives a try.

About Moverick
AKA Mister Mobility. Owned over 100 mobiles. Maverick. Techie. Blogger. Entrepreneur. Agony Aunt. Adventurer. Amateur musician. Ladies man. Follow him on Twitter @Mister_Mobility, on LinkedIn at YomiAdegboye, and circle him on Google+. Listen to his music on SoundCloud.

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9 comments on “Data Compression On Mobile Web Browsers Is The Future”

  1. Harry Echemco Reply

    Good one. It is really interesting that other players seem to be embracing data compression when BlackBerry that is reputed for the service is dropping it.

    Apart from the saving in data consumption that also translates to financial savings, the improvement in the speed of loading webpages is one huge attraction for data compression. I have tried the Android. browser, the one shipped with devices and I always find it frustrating waiting for pages to load in comparison to the speedy experience with Opera Mini. Compression by default in built-in browsers will be welcomed if implemented well, and also with the option of turning it off when needed.

  2. martinkem Reply

    I recently did a Review of the new Opera browser beta, and I was impressed by the amount of data saved by the off-road compression technology, it was almost better than what the Opera mini 7.5 in android offered. I also trued out the data compression on Chrome beta but it used almost as much data as it would if uncompressed a check on it showed that the compression was mainly limited to pictures (converts jpg to webp, which offers almost 30% savings in ideal cases).
    web compression is definitely the way to go.

  3. muyiscoi Reply

    I disagree. The future is rich media web consumption with embedded audio and video. This is impossible to do over a compressed data network. That’s why blackberry disabled it for their BB10 browser and that’s why I don’t think we’ll see data compression as default on any mobile OS anytime soon. The future is in unlimited mobile data or figuring out a way to stream over compressed data.

  4. Muyiscoi Reply

    BlackBerry can also stream videos too but it doesn’t do it over the compressed data network and I’m sure it’s the same the Nokia.

  5. bosun99uk Reply

    Well Said., Well timed

    Am in, as long as I can switch it off when i want.

  6. Mister Mo Reply

    Muyiscoi,

    BlackBerry can also stream videos too but it doesn’t do it over the compressed data network and I’m sure it’s the same the Nokia.

    However it is implemented, the issue is that data compression is available for users without skimping on rich media. Many times, we like to think of things in terms of Black or White, while the workable solutions is a mixture of both. Nokia seems to have gotten it right.

    That also knocks off BlackBerry’s reason for getting rid of data compression on OS10. I still think that was a horrible choice, since it wasn’t compressing videos anyway. Instead of removing it outright, why not an option to disable or enable it by the user?

  7. eye_bee_kay Reply

    the WebKit based Opera Browser beta has now left Beta..

    Still.not biting this, though. Prefer Opera Mobile for android ..

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