Opera Software the company behind the well-known web-browser retired their Opera Max product which had built-in VPN functionality to the great waste bin in the sky recently. It has since been picked up by Samsung and rebranded Samsung Max.
The ‘Opera‘ now Samsung Max app is a standalone app intended to reduce the amount of mobile data a user’s device uses. This is useful if they’ve got a limited internet plan or are charged by how much data they consume.
The app works by compressing music, photos and video without quality loss. In turn this reduces the amount of internet data a user’s device churns through.
VPN support dropped
Opera Max supported a limited VPN service via their Privacy Protection feature. Lovers of the service will be disappointed to find that Samsung has decided to drop the VPN functionality from the rebranded Samsung Max app.
Instead users will be able to make use of a limited DNS masking service. However, the IP Address of the user does not change and nor is any of the data encrypted.
While this may come as a disappointment to those who previously made use of the function on Opera Max, it is no great loss. Considering the often insecurities that “free” VPN services present. Users missing the feature can simply check out one of the many other free VPN services in existence – albeit it as a standalone app.
No more multi-device
Alongside the VPN removal, Samsung will be restricting the app to use on only certain models of Samsung phones. Opera Max was previously open for use for all Android users but this will come to an end when Samsung release their next update.
Users of the current Opera Max app who have it installed on a Samsung device will have the ability to upgrade to the new Samsung Max version. However, those who have it installed on non-Samsung devices will find the app stops functioning correctly in the coming weeks.
Samsung pushing Max in emerging markets
Whilst almost all Samsung owners will be able to install the Samsung Max app from the Google Play Store some markets will feature the app pre-installed.
Emerging markets such as India, Thailand, Nigeria, Brazil amongst others seem to be the target. Devices released in these regions will see the Samsung Max app come already installed on new devices.
Samsung’s Seounghoon Oh explained that data is now a commodity but in many locations around the world it is still too expensive to be utilised effectively.
In many countries data plans are severely limited and exceeding those small limits can become increasingly expensive. Samsung Max’s ability to reduce the size of certain files will reduce the burden on data packages. The aim being to allow users to access more internet content with a smaller data footprint.
The new app seems limited in its ability especially with the removal of VPN protection. It also faces competition from big players like Google who recently launched a similar app available on a larger range of devices called Datally.
Datally claims to be able to save users up to 30% of their mobile data. Although it would appear Samsung is not interested in going head-to-head in the data-saving market but simply offering their own customers extra features.