FMT’s Netsurfer TOUCH hits the sweet spot with Opera Mini browser

by admin

  Posted on December 9, 2013

Future Mobile Technology (FMT), the designer and manufacturer of the Netsurfer TOUCH, South Africa’s homegrown tablet, announced this week that it has signed an agreement with Opera Software. This partnership will see the Opera Mini browser preinstalled on FMT’s devices. “There are many advantages to using Opera Mini,” said joint CEO of FMT, Graham Davies. “Among the biggest is that it significantly speeds up Web-browsing and other Internet-related uses.” Davies said having Opera Mini preinstalled on FMT tablets and readers makes sense, as Opera Mini shrinks pages down by up to 90%. “That’s a huge cost saving on data. At the same time, it doesn’t reduce the full online experience in any way.” Davies says having a super-fast browser that works on any network, including 2G and Edge, is a massive boon for users and operators. “For operators, the shrinking of the pages is great, too.

It means they have more people browsing using their tablets and phones, but without using too much bandwidth.” It also means that in areas where network coverage may not be consistent, there is no reduction in speed. “Africa is a booming market for us; we are super-excited to work with FMT to bring Opera browsers to their netsurfer brand of tablet devices,” says Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software. “For South Africa, where fixed-line infrastructure does not have a high penetration, many people access the Web for the first time via some sort of mobile device. The Netsurfer TOUCH is low-cost and high quality, so we can expect an even greater uptake of tablets as a result, which means more people using Mini. Sweet.” FMT’s Android-operated tablet, the Netsurfer TOUCH, was designed with Africa in mind. Joint CEO of FMT, Tracy Andersson, says the digital divide created an opportunity for FMT to design mobile Internet devices for a much-neglected mass market. Its deal with PEP stores, which sells the tablets via its PEP and PEP Cell stores for R1 999, has allowed FMT to make inroads into a much broader market, while at the same time offering excellent after-sales service with customer care in seven languages.

Of course, by offering the preinstalled Opera Mini browser, FMT is helping its consumer base get more for their money. “It makes money sense,” says Davies. “Browsing the Web via our Netsurfer TOUCH using Opera’s browser saves time and you can do more for the same monetary spend. It uses only a 10th of the bandwidth required by other browsers. That means a massive 10 times more Internet usage for each and every customer.” The use of the Opera Mini browser feeds into FMT’s philosophy of not just selling products, but helping people get the best out of them, says Andersson, and thus grows interest in new technologies. “Ultimately, that means demand for new devices increases.” Good news for users is that the latest versions of the Opera Mini and Opera Mobile have been given an extra boost of speed and power. Even on sites with secure encryption or lots of graphics, pages load with a snap and scroll smoothly. Users will also be able to play the next generation of games on their mobile devices, thanks to WebGL hardware acceleration.

The South African tech community has positively received the netsurfer TOUCH:

  • Toby Shapshak, editor of Stuff magazine, gave it a positive review in the Sunday Times newspaper.
  • Stuff magazine said: “We can’t help but salute Netsurfer TOUCH…it’s cheap and it has the perfect combination of features for the SA market.”
  • Steve Norris from Gearburn called it ‘the people’s tablet’ and said he was “impressed” with it.
  • ITWeb, in Admire Moyo’s review, said it is “the perfect alternative for those who put price first when purchasing a tablet PC”, and that it “was designed with the gamer in mind”.
  • Die Son kicked in, with reviewer, Joe Bothma, writing: “Die Netsurfer TOUCH is ‘n awsome tablet teen die prys.”

Davies and Andersson will be interviewed on the Tech Report, on eNews Channel, at 9:30pm on 29 March, and the Netsurfer TOUCH will be reviewed.