If there's a single application that can massively improve the life of any Window Mobile user, it's the Opera web browser. Microsoft's Internet Explorer Mobile may have been impressive when it first appeared, but it has gradually fallen further and further behind the competition to the extent that using it now is the digital equivalent of Chinese water torture. Thankfully Opera quickly realised there was a gap in the market and launched it's browser on the Windows Mobile platform in 2003. Since then it's been the browser of choice for the discerning Windows Mobile user.
However, with a big update for IE Mobile on its way and competitors like Iris and Skyfire snapping at its heels Opera needs to keep innovating if it's to stay ahead of the pack. The arrival of the version 9.7 beta at least shows that the company isn't standing still, but is it worth upgrading to this latest beta if the 9.5 beta is running fine on your phone? Unfortunately for most people the answer will be 'no', but this doesn't mean that the 9.7 beta doesn't introduce some interesting new features.
The main reason for this release is to show off the new turbo mode. Turbo is Opera's system for speeding up the browsing experience when you're stuck with a slow connection. It uses a combination of compression and proxy servers to reduce the amount of data that needs to be sent to your phone for it to display web pages. The idea behind the system is not exactly new. In fact, Opera has used it before on its Opera Mini browser that's aimed at less advanced handsets. It's also similar to the technology used in the Skyfire browser.