Opera partners Google on progressive web apps for Nigerian mobile users

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

Norwegian technology company Opera has partnered with Google to ensure that mobile users, including Nigerians, easily access and use its Progressive Web Apps (PWAs).

The duo are combining the best attributes of both apps and mobile sites, resulting in considerable data savings for mobile users.

Manager and Development Relations Lead, Opera for Android product, Mr Andreas Bovens, who was in Lagos recently to demonstrate how this app can help Nigerian users, explained that “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,” He added that “in Nigeria users are cost conscious and often do not download apps and are averse to updates - the trend is to side-load  apps from PCs where they are already installed on to mobile phones. 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 applications making them ideal for use on budget smartphones.”

What this means in simple terms is that because the app has powers to compress files and data, it reduces the amount of bandwidth that would have ordinarily expended in downloading such data and documents. That in itself, translates to saving cost.

Meanwhile, unlike normal apps that often require access to personal information before launching, PWAs only request these permissions when needed, allowing users to better control their privacy.

Bovens said that Nigeria’s mobile penetration currently stands at 94%, even as the cost of data continues to be a significant barrier to internet access. Therefore, that 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 Nigeria 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. We can’t wait to see how PWA technology will shape Nigeria’s mobile internet space in the coming years.”

Opera - known for its mobile and desktop browsers, including Opera Mini - enables more than 350 million internet consumers worldwide to connect with the content and services that matter most to them.

Recent updates to Opera Mini include the blocking of unnecessary, data heavy web ads, a video booster that allows online videos to load quicker and a feature enabling users to download videos from top video and social media websites for later viewing, offline.

Opera Mini’s market share in Nigeria stands at approximately 73% with the country being Opera’s largest market in Africa (in terms of users) and 3rd largest in the world.

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