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Data-saving Opera Max for Android enters public beta

The bandwidth savings app Opera Max is now open to all interested Android users in the U.S. and Western Europe. Opera recently announced it was accepting pre-registration for a public beta version of Max following a limited beta period that began in December.

Opera Max is supposed to help Android users reduce their bandwidth usage by compressing all unencrypted wireless data traffic to the device. This includes casual, unencrypted Web browsing as well as third-party apps that don't encrypt traffic, such as Instagram and Vine.

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Max is available to all, but before you start using the app you have to get in line.

Android users with version 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher in the U.S. can join the beta by downloading Opera Max from Google Play. Once you launch the app, it will automatically place you in line to start using Max giving you a user count of how many people are ahead of you.

Opera warns that joining the beta may take some time. The company is only adding new users once its servers can handle the load.

Opera has focused on data compression for some time offering the feature as part of its desktop and mobile browsers. In early 2013, Opera purchased SkyFire Labs, a company specializing in video compression technology.

While Opera may be hoping to attract new users to its platform using data compression, other mobile companies are also working on bandwidth savings.

Silk, the browser on Amazon's Kindle platform, has offered data compression from day one, and Google recently rolled out a new data compression feature on Chrome for Android and iOS.

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