Samsung rescues data-saving mobile browser Opera Max and relaunches it as Samsung Max
Norwegian tech company Opera, which first became known for its desktop browser when it launched in 1995, has offered mobile browser apps across various platforms for years. But in 2014, it launched the standalone Opera Max browser for Android, designed to get its users more bang from their data plan while also offering some VPN-like features. The app compresses data such as photos, music, and videos, while promising “no noticeable loss of quality.” Opera Max can also block background processes to conserve battery and data.
The app was given a number of new features over the past few years, but last August the company revealed it was pulling the plug on Opera Max once and for all. The reason, according to Opera at the time:
The product had a substantially different value proposition than our browser products, and represented a different focus for Opera. We, therefore, focus on our browsers and other upcoming services.
As such, Opera delisted the app from Google Play, though it did state that the app would remain functional for a period of time and that it would inform existing users before it terminated the server-side functionality.
Well, it appears that D-Day has come, and Samsung has stepped in to save the day. No details are available regarding whether Samsung paid anything for the app, but given that Opera was going to shutter the service anyway, it’s likely that Samsung paid very little — if anything — to take over the app. VentureBeat has reached out to the companies and will update when, or if, we hear back.
Unfortunately, as with many Samsung apps, Samsung Max will only work on certain Samsung Galaxy-branded devices. So if you’ve been happily using Opera Max on a non-Samsung device for the past six months, the next update that rolls out will render the app useless for you.
Those with a compatible Samsung device will receive the new Samsung Max update automatically if they have Opera Max installed, while the app will also come preloaded on some devices in India, Brazil, Argentina, Nigeria, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand, South Africa, and Vietnam. Everyone else (who has a compatible Samsung device) will be able to download the Samsung Max app from Google Play or the Galaxy Apps store.
Samsung Max is effectively the same as Opera Max, though the Korean technology giant said that it will “improve” the data-saving and privacy-protection modes, while it has also given the interface and UX a bit of a spit-shine.
“All over the world, data has become a commodity, but many plans are simply still too expensive for consumers that want to get the most out of the latest technology built into their devices,” noted Seounghoon Oh, vice president for Samsung R&D Institute, India. “With Samsung Max, our users in every corner of the globe now have increased autonomy and control over their data usage and privacy in an era of rising security threats, fraudulent apps and user profiling.”
Samsung’s launch comes just a few months after Google launched Datally, an Android app that helps users track and conserve mobile data.