A lot of PPC users have noticed
on all the PPC boards that an already-usable preliminary version of the Opera browser has become available. As it's Java MIDP-based, people had serious problems with installing/running it. This is why (I'm a Java guru
, so, I made it work in some seconds) I decided to write a tutorial and, being an avid PPC browser
and compression service
user, also a quick review of the app, comparing it to the other Pocket PC Web browsers
1, download the IBM J9 (you can also give a try to the CrEme JVM (see the above-linked Java article) - I haven't tested Opera with that JVM. With the IBM J9, it's woking just great). Go here
, choose the link "Trial: IBM Workplace Client Technology, Micro Edition 5.7
" and navigate thru the 3 pages, by loging in / registering with IBM. On the third page, scroll down to "WebSphere Everyplace Micro Environment MIDP 2.0 for Windows Mobile 2003" and download it.
Alternatively, you can download the same package from Handango
, but it's much bigger in size than the one at IBM, so, you may want to stick to the latter.
Note that the HTC PDA + mobile combo has its own MIDP JVM (see the XDA-Developers
thread). It's not available for non-HTC branded devices, however (AFAIK!), so, you'll need to stick to third-party solutions (and it's pretty futile to go to http://www.dmmh.nl/xda/files/
, as recommended in the XDA-Developers thread, to look for the JVM).
Install (you may want to install it on a storage card) and everything will be OK. (Contrary to what most people say, you will NOT need to download WebSphere Studio Device Developer in its entirety! The Handango download may also include parts of it; hence the size.)
2, get Opera from here - sorry, as I was told this distro isn't necessarily legal (even if it's an early beta version, which may be much worse than the final), I've removed the direct link to it.
3, if/once you have Winrar
on your PC, just enter winrar opera-mini.rar
. Click the 'Extract' icon in Winrar and press Enter. The files will be extracted in a directory named opera-mini
4, transfer the files Opera_Mini_low.jad
to your PPC; to, say, \My Documents
5, invoke File Explorer on the PDA, and click Opera_Mini_low.jad
(the smaller file).
6, IBM J9 will automatically be invoked and the MIDLET installation started; just keep pressing OK/Yes:
7, after this, highlight Opera
at the top:
and press the Launch
button at the top. Opra will be started and some Noregian text displayed; just click OK in the lower left corner.
8, go to Meny/Verkt°y/Innstillinger
and click the Norsk at the bottom of the list in the top of the window. Choose English from the top of the list.
9, now, you can start browsing. You'll get used to the interface very fast. It's pretty different from other browsers (there're no
- it's astonishingly fast, especially at rendering small images, which has always been one of the weakest point of PIE
- don't be afraid of the lack of 'traditional' form components. Everything is a simple text field here, even text areas, as can be seen in the following screenshot:
- if you install opera.ja*
instead of Opera_Mini_low.ja*
, it won't be able to communicate with the server, for some reasons (dunno why; didn't really have the time to track the cause for the bug. The 'full' version isn't much better than the 'basic' - it has a graphical command bar and - pretty slow - character antialiasing features. Upon popular request, I may look into the problem, even on the Java source level. Let me know if you want it to work.)
- upon the first request, it asks whether it should use the "airtime". Just leave the default 'Yes' intact:
- use some kind of task manager to return to the app (for example, the built-in Task Switcher in Spb Pocket Plus 3.0 - incidentally, if you use it, you may want to relocate it from the RAM - see this thread
) if you minimize the J9 window by mistake
- native VGA mode works great:
- dynamic Landscape orientation change doesn't work with IBM J9; just restart J9 in Landscape and everything will be OK
- everything is one column-only, but still very nice to read, much nicer than the output of, say, Skweezer or its online alternatives
. And the speed difference is just breathtaking!
- inter-session cookie handling is good; they are stored in \My Documents\recordStores
- I couldn't spot any kind of local caching (Thunderhawk/Minimo doesn't use any local cache either)
- there is no Java support either
- no in-page find, not even text select/copy. Copy/paste works great in text fields, though.
- don't try to force the two IBM J9 EXE files (IBM MIDP20\bin\emulator.exe / IBM MIDP20\bin\j9midp20.exe) into forced VGA. It'll result in the disappearing of the upper/lower bar; the lower bar being the command bar with buttons to use, you won't be able to use the app at all:
10, upon subsequent starts, you don't need to re-click the jad file again; just run "MIDLet HQ" and go to step 7 above.
I've tested it on both WM2003 (iPAQ 2210) and WM2003SE (PL720) with J9; works great so far. Even in its current form, this application is great and, despite its being Java-based, incredibly fast.
You may also want to read my article on the other browsers available
and the above-mentioned Reducing Internet bandwidth usage on the Pocket PC - A complete roundup & comparison of Toonel, OnSpeed, Skweezer, WebWarper and the like
so that you can compare. Especially compared to the solutions (Skweezer et al) in the latter category does Opera excel.