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More Opera Mini more of the time

When I tweeted about the Opera / Microsoft agreement last week (saying that Opera Mini will become the default browser on Nokia’s Asha and feature phone ranges), I felt like I wanted to say more about it.

The article came back up on my radar a few days ago, courtesy of Jeremy Keith’s link log, which reminded me of why it’s important:

You might want to think about how your Angular-powered JavaScript-required web thang works in one of the world’s most popular web browsers

You might think it’s hyperbole to call it that, but let’s look at some stats. A press release from Opera the other day states that there are 100 million active users of Opera mini, just on Android, which is twice as many as a year ago. Their stats from their State of the Mobile Web report for April 2014 show 267 million unique users of Opera mobile browsers, and their more recent article “How to get the next billion online” talks about these stats in a wider context.

One key factor to consider is that people in developing countries are big users of Opera browsers because of the cost savings that they offer. When you combine this with the fact that many users, especially in developing countries, are mobile-only, you start to see why building with Progressive Enhancement, and not relying on JavaScript for key functionality is so important: you’ll be blocking huge portions of the world from using your stuff.