It is no secret that mobile data is still very expensive. Going overboard with audio and video streaming, browsing or app downloads will unavoidably lead to throttling, a pretty steep bill from the mobile operator or a brisk run through the remaining credit. But there is one way of giving mobile device users more breathing room, and that is through data compression. It offers obvious advantages, and comes with no major downsides. What's not to like about that?
That is the selling point that Norwegian browser maker Opera Software and Taiwanese processor maker MediaTek hope will impress new customers, as they announce their new partnership, which will see the former's Opera Max data-savings app being built-into the latter's 4G LTE-enabled offerings. The first fruits of this partnership are two 64-bit chips. The touted data savings are rather impressive.
The two companies claim that with Opera Max on board, those who use MediaTek-powered mobile devices will see data savings by up to 50 percent. The solution comes at no cost to consumers, which should only increase its appeal, especially in emerging markets, where MediaTek is most powerful. This could also be an important differentiator for MediaTek, as it takes on Qualcomm and its Snapdragons, which power most of the mobile device on the market today.
The key is ensuring that consumers know about this benefit. How the pair will manage to do that remains unknown at this point. What we do know is what sort of content will benefit from the compression.
Opera Max compresses photos, videos and text across most apps (including browsers), and is also said to reduce loading and buffering times for videos because of it. This is done by routing the data through Opera's servers, where it is compressed and sent to users in a smaller size. The solution is available direct only to mobile device vendors, which will have to preload it onto their handsets for consumers to take advantage of it.
"As mobile consumption grows with new data-hungry apps and mobile videos, compressing mobile data is more important than ever", states Opera CEO Lars Boilesen. "Opera has been a leader in mobile data compression for almost a decade, bringing millions of people online by lowering the barriers for accessing and enjoying the web. Today, we work with MediaTek, a market leader in cutting-edge system on chips for wireless communications, bringing Opera Max to their LTE chipsets and preparing smartphones for the next wave of data usage. Together, we are pushing the envelope for the entire mobile industry".
The first MediaTek processors to feature Opera Max are MT6752 and MT6732. As the names do not offer much information, here are some tidbits of information. The former is the most powerful, being advertised as a "true" octa-core processor, based on ARM's 64-bit architecture, with eight 2.0 GHz ARM Cortex A53 CPUs and a Mali-T760 GPU. The latter is less powerful by comparison, offering four Cortex A53 CPUs. They're aimed at the "emerging Super-mid market" -- put differently, they're designed for affordable mid-range devices.