I've been an Opera Mini web browser fan ever since it has first appeared as a Java application on the first Symbian phones as even on mid-range phones it makes browsing lightning fast. Another reason for me using it is that it keeps my costs for mobile data down when I travel abroad as it uses a network side compression server. But even on high end phones, the mini's compression techniques have its advantages as no matter how powerful the device is, compressed data is still downloaded and rendered much more quickly. Try browsing with a normal browser in a train with a patchy network outside or just GPRS or EDGE coverage and the advantages are even more profound. Over the years, Opera has added native mini's for Android and the iPhone but so far, it always remained a Java application on Symbian. Not that I particularly minded, as the speed was just stunning, despite a Java interpreter between the browser and the phone. But now Opera seems to have changed its mind and now also offers a first native beta for Symbian.
I gave it a try on a current Symbian^3 phone and it looks almost exactly identical to the Java version. Once loaded I'd say it's hard to spot the difference. As Opera mentions in the press release, the native version starts much faster than the Java version, I'd say it's up and running in a second. Spectacular! Scrolling through a page via the touch interface is a tick smoother than with the Java version. And another good feature: With the online bookmark synch option, getting the bookmarks and the six start page pans for quick access to the Symbian app is done in a few seconds. Very nicely done, Opera, thanks a lot!
BTW: No need to go to an appstore to get it, just open any browser on the mobile device, head over to www.operamini.com and download it right from there.