Opera Mobile

The Opera Mini web browser has made a name for itself by enabling reasonably fast web browsing on slow wireless networks. That’s because when you want to load a web page on a smartphone or other mobile device running Opera Mini, the request goes to a remote server where Opera grabs the web page, compresses it to save space, and shoots it to your device. It sounds like it would take more time but if you’re surfing the web on a device with a slow processor or a sluggish internet connection, it can actually save you a lot of time.

There’s also an Opera Mobile browser, which renders pages locally on your device. As long as you have a relatively recent phone or tablet and a speedy internet connection, Opera Mobile will probably be a better choice — but last year the developers added a little Opera Mini to Opera Mobile with a new “Turbo” option.

Opera Turbo lets you enable remote server compression when you want it. You can currently either turn it on all the time, just when you’re not using WiFi, or never.

But CNET reports that Opera plans to go a step further and offer a hybrid browser that automatically decides when to render pages locally or remotely. If your internet connection is congested, future versions of Opera Mobile will be able to switch to Opera Mini mode without any user input.

That means you should get the fastest page load speeds whenever possible without having to manually flip the Turbo switch. Hopefully Opera will continue to let users turn off Turbo if they don’t like the idea of their data going through a remote server though.

The new version of Opera Mobile should be out in early 2012.

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