Opera Mini: Connecting Africa To The Rest Of The World!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009 5:51:50 PM
While the average American or European had access to the internet at home, the thought was more or less a fairy tale to the average African. The cost was simply outrageous. I could remember vividly, back then my uncle in the village used to ride for miles on his bike just to accomplish the feat of sending an e-mail.
Years later, came the advent of 3G technology that enabled mobile phones with internet access through wap browsers. Yeah, it came with much anticipation and promise but then the charges by service providers were cut throat and access was limited to wap pages and much could not be accomplished. A majority of Africans still had limited access to the net. But then came opera mini; a browser software for mobile devices, that puts real web feel into your mobile phone, not the wap stuff, having far more processing speed, than other mobile browser software, and the part we love in Africa, it’s cheap to use! That is because of its ability to compress page contents.
At first the 2.6 version became a popular hit in sub Saharan Africa because it was cheap and easy to use. From Ghana to Nigeria, Cameroon down to South Africa the opera fever was on. Many stayed connected to the rest of the world with opera mini. I remember when I installed my first opera mini, a 2.6 version, I stayed online practically all day and most of the night, cranking up the net! It was quite a ‘wow’ experience. I remember, with a trace of nostalgia how I used to have a swollen thumb from excessive key pad assault. Opera mini gave me my first 24hours real web experience, with little, or no limitations! Then, came other upgraded versions, of which my favorite is the 4.2 version, with the ability to view as zoomed area or the whole page as it appears on a regular PC.
I guess, to the rest of the world, especially Europe and America opera mini might just be another browser software, but to us African users, its more than that. It’s a window that allows hundreds of thousands of us especially in Nigeria connect to the rest of the world, share ideas, views and information. it gives us the opportunity to be heard and be a part of the wild wide web and importantly,it gives us the avenue to learn new things.
My university professor used to say that globalization is a bridge that links Africa to the rest of the world. He might be right, but for me and the rest of opera mini users in Africa what links us to the rest of the world is simply ‘operalization’. The use of an approximately 200 kilo byte internet browser called opera mini.