Most smartwatches are companion devices for your smartphone, designed to let you view notifications and perform simple actions without taking out your phone.
The Samsung Gear S is a bit different. You can pair it with a phone. But you can also use Samsung’s new smartwatch to make phone calls, send text messages, or check Facebook even if your phone isn’t nearby.
You can also use it to surf the web, thanks to mobile web browser Opera Mini.
Opera has been making tablets for mobile devices since before smartphones were widely popular. I remember using the browser on my old PDA running Microsoft’s Pocket PC software (which was a precursor to Windows Mobile).
The Opera Mini browser is a simple browser that features large icons for your favorite websites, support for gestures such as swiping to move forward or back, and data compression which helps you surf more quickly on a slow internet connection (and which also helps you get more out of your monthly data cap).
Most of those features apply to Opera Mini whether you’re running it on a smartphone or a smartwatch. Now that Opera Mini is available from the Samsung Gear Apps Store for the Gear S smartwatch, you can run it on Samsung’s watch with a 2 inch, 360 x 480 pixel touchscreen display, WiFi, Bluetooth, and a 3G radio.
Think a 2 inch screen is too cramped for reading web pages? Opera Mini supports lets you zoom by double-tapping the screen or pinching.
I wonder if you could use this to display custom watchfaces as a web app…
Good luck with that
This is good news… for those who would prefer to browse on their smatwatch for some reason. But Opera could have redesigned the Opera Mini a bit, this design is from around 2010, and was meant for ~3.5″ touchscreens. No need for a separate searchbar, the navigation buttons seems to be too small to be of good use and they take up precious screen space at the same time. Why not dismiss them and use gestures instead? Swipe from left/right for back/forward, swipe up for the tab selector, etc…
Used to use Opera Mini on a featurephone with a similar screen size and resolution. Worked ok, but then i had a dpad and numpad to help with scrolling.
BTW, Opera Mini is capable of reformating the layout of pages so that they become a single long column of text.
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