Overall, Opera's browsers account for 86% of all Kenyan mobile internet activity over the past year, and 12.7% of all internet traffic from Kenya was through Opera Mini and Opera Mobile, according to data from StatCounter Global Stats.
To capitalize on this, the Norwegian technology company Opera announced a collaboration with Google to enhance the accessibility and usability of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) for mobile phone users, in order to combine the best attributes of both apps and mobile sites and cut down on data usage.
“PWAs start out in web browsers, just like normal websites. When a user continuously uses the site, an install banner is shown, allowing users to add the site to their home screens,” Opera for Android Product Lead Andreas Bovens said at a PWA Roadshow event in Nairobi.
“The average Kenyan user has over 15 apps on his/her phone, most of which require daily and weekly updates, incurring high data costs. PWAs provide the convenience of an app, including push notifications, along with faster speeds and offline support without the data cost. PWAs also take up less storage space than traditional apps, making them ideal for use on budget smartphones.”
Jo Crawshaw (Left) Senior Marketing and PR Manager for Opera Mini in Sub- Saharan Africa and Andreas Bovens (Right), Opera for Android Product Lead talking about Progressive Web Apps at Crowne Plaza, Nairobi
Unlike regular apps that often require access to personal information before launching, PWAs only request these permissions when needed, allowing users to better control their privacy.
Kenya’s mobile penetration currently stands at 88.1%, but the cost of data continues to be a significant barrier to internet access. PWAs - mobile websites delivering an app-like user experience - could be part of the solution.
"PWAs offer a great new way for developers and businesses in Kenya to reach users right in the web browser, without requiring them to download additional apps - and all that in a very lightweight, user friendly package", Andreas adds. "We can’t wait to see how PWA technology will shape Kenya’s mobile internet space in the coming years.”
Opera's mobile and desktop browsers enable more than 350 million internet users worldwide to connect with the content and services that matter most to them.
Recent updates to Opera Mini include the blocking of web ads, a video booster that allows online videos to load quicker, and a feature that enables users to download videos for later viewing offline. Opera also has a VPN service to enable iPhone users to bypass geographical restrictions, and Opera Max, a data-saving app.