I’ve often opined that the desktop version of Opera doesn’t make a lot of sense these days, but Opera certainly has tremendous presence in the mobile world. Confusingly, however, Opera offers two mobile browsers, Opera Mobile and Opera Mini. If I understand this correctly, Opera Mobile is their “full featured” browser, with something that approximates a desktop experience (but you have to pay for it). Opera Mini, meanwhile, is a lighter and less full featured browser that works on a wider range of phones. And its free. Anyway, there’s a new version of Opera Mini out:

Today, Opera Software released the final version of its much-anticipated Opera Mini 4.2 for mobile phones. Since the launch of the beta version of Opera Mini 4.2, speed trials have shown that this version gives more than 30% speed improvements for users in the US, due to the addition of a new Opera Mini server park in the United States.

This release also marks Opera Mini’s official availability on the latest version of the Android mobile platform. Opera Mini is now the first Web browser alternative on Android. A technical preview of Opera Mini was previously released for an earlier version of Android in April 2008. Users of Android-powered mobile phones, such as the T-Mobile G1, can now download a beta version of Opera Mini 4.2 and experience a faster and less costly way to browse the full Internet.

"With Opera Mini 4.2, we are showing the world that Opera never gets complacent. We will always be improving our product, adding speed, new functionality and features, and ensuring that it is accessible by all," says Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software. "Our support of the Android platform helps fulfill our mission to be available on more platforms, for more devices and reach more users, anywhere in the world."

Opera Mini 4.2 adds more language versions and offers added skin selections to personalize the look and feel of the browser. Opera Mini is renowned for its speed, as data is compressed before it is sent to the phone. This helps to keep end-user costs low, since the data delivered is kept to a minimum.

Upon downloading Opera Mini 4.2, mobile phone users will experience:
- More than 90 language versions, including the recently added Amharic, Armenian, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Kirghiz, Lingala, Marathi, Malayalam, Mongolian, Oriya, Punjabi, Pashto, Sinhala, Tajik, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Uzbek, Khmer, Kashmiri, Lao and Turkmen
- Funky new skins for personalizing the look of Opera Mini
- Opera Link support for notes, allowing users to sync their notes between the PC and Opera Mini
- Improved real time streaming protocol (RTSP) handoff. This increases the number of phones with support for mobile video.

The far-reaching popularity of Opera Mini continues to grow month after month. Opera reports that 21 million unique users browsed five billion pages in October 2008 alone, totaling a remarkable 490 percent increase since October 2007. Millions of people have already discovered the power of Opera Mini; it’s time for the rest of the world to enjoy the Web on the small screen.
Opera Mini 4.2 is ready and waiting for download at http://www.opera.com/mini/.