If you’ve ever been frustrated by exceeding your data plan on a monthly basis, browser-maker Opera may just have a solution for you.
The Norwegian company, which is strongest in emerging markets due to its focus on compressing browser data with Opera Mini, has branched out into compressing data across apps, as it officially launched a free data-savings app for Android smartphone users today. This shift is key because people typically consume data by accessing apps nowadays, not by surfing within browsers.
The app, Opera Max, extends the life of your data plan by up to 50 percent, the company says. This means that if you pay $40 a month for a 1GB data plan, using Opera Max lets you consume up to 1.5GB per month for the same cost. Opera notes that “if you have a pre-paid data plan, pay per megabyte of use, or are roaming internationally, this app adds even more value.”
In particular, Opera Max compresses videos across your Android device, which the company claims has never been done before. As videos tend to use a lot of data, compressing them means you get more out of apps including YouTube, Instagram and Vine.
In the Opera Max app, you get to see a timeline of your apps usage and how much you saved on data by month or by day — listed individually, as well as in total.
How Opera Max works: Once the app has been downloaded, it immediately starts compressing and rerouting data via a VPN to the data-savings cloud. All non-encrypted data requests are then sent through Opera’s compression servers, which optimize video, images and websites to use less data.
“As ‘kings of compression,’ we think Opera Max is the next step in the evolution of this technology, which will intelligently compress data across apps, not just your browser,” Sergey Lossev, the head of product at Opera Max, says.
From today, the Opera Max beta will be available to Android users in the US and Europe who already pre-registered for it. The app will be launched gradually in other regions worldwide.
Headline image via Opera