Thanks to Microsoft, Opera just got 100M potential new mobile browser users

Microsoft isn’t just removing the Nokia name from upcoming Lumia smartphones, it’s also changing the default browser on what used to be Nokia’s low-end and feature phones. Thanks to a deal with Opera, those handsets will use Opera Mini, which could add more than 100 million new users for the Norway-based browser company.


The Wall Street Journal reported the news on Monday morning, after speaking with [company]Opera[/company] CEO┬áLars Boilesen. [company]Microsoft[/company]’s Asha phones, as well as any other feature phones, will transition from the Nokia Xpress Web browser to using Opera Mini as the default way to access the internet. It’s a move that makes sense for both companies, particularly since these phones are typically sold in regions with slower, limited mobile broadband connections or in areas where a fast connection is simply too expensive for most.

Opera Mini helps in both scenarios, not just because it’s a lightweight browser that can run well on limited hardware. All browser requests in Opera Mini are routed through the company’s servers, which then compress the requested content. This means viewing the web in Opera Mini can be faster, since less information is transmitted, which in turn helps the overall experience and saving on bandwidth used. That’s useful in countries with limited or slow network infrastructure, such as India where a full seventh of Opera’s total 350 million current users live.

Neither company announced specific plans for how and when the existing phones will switch their default browser, so it may take some time before the changeover. Of course, Opera Mini can be downloaded and installed on a phone before then by visiting with your existing browser.