Great rehearsal, bad show


Over the past few months, I’ve been trying out various versions of Opera Mini 4 for mobile browsing. I had at least two beta versions, all of which installed and worked fine on my BlackBerry. Granted, there was a problem actually starting the install the first time, but I figured this out with a web search. And of course, beta software is usually rather buggy, and the later beta copies included a fix for that early problem.

With this in mind, I was excited to hear that Opera Mini 4 had finished with beta testing, and is now a final release. I dutifully erased my old copies, downloaded the new one, and launched the program. After granting it network access when prompted, I expected to start browsing and checking out the new features. Instead, I was greeted with a network error, and the program said to go the Opera website for troubleshooting. The only option was to “Exit”. So I exited, removed the program from my handheld, and just gave up.

What’s my point here? In short, if you’ve managed to deliver a high-quality experience during your testing or beta phase, it’s even more important to ensure this carries over to your official release. Always re-test the popular uses of the product, make sure the old bugs from the beta phase remain solved, and even ask some beta testers to give your “release candidate” a try before you send it out to the wild.

With so many products carrying the “beta” label for months or years, saying something is “final” confers a lot of confidence in the product. I don’t know what sort of testing or quality assurance work Opera does for each new version, but something clearly got overlooked here. And since user expectations were set high based on the pre-release versions, these sort of mishaps in the final product hurt the company and its users that much more.

4 Responses to “Great rehearsal, bad show”

  1. Thanks Daniel. I originally heard about Opera Mini 4 from the folks over at If you want to recruit more Blackberry users to help with testing, I’m sure that the authors would be happy to post that request for you.

  2. Blackberry phones are very important to us, as it’s a very popular phone here in the US. We’ve done some nice improvements with beta 2 of Opera Mini 4, apparently we need to do more. 🙂 Bug reports, like yours, should help us with improvements.


  3. I have posted a bug report using the link you provided. It’s really nice to see that Opera is on top of things, which gives me a lot more confidence that the bug reports are reviewed by a real person. I know there’s a ridiculous number of different handsets out there, but it does seem like Blackberry gets the short end of the stick when it comes to testing (despite a large user base). In fact, the issue I had mentioned in the first beta had to do with agreeing to the license agreement. Blackberry users had to try every key until they hit the magical one that selected the OK button. Perhaps you guys could expand your in-house Blackberry test platforms to include the two most recent iterations of each Blackberry series, both with the original OS the device shipped with, and the current OS release. Easier said than done, I’m sure 🙂

  4. Hi, I’m Daniel from Opera Software.

    Sorry to hear about your experience with Opera Mini 4. We’d love to get Opera Mini working on your phone again. Can you please help us by submitting a bug report with the details of your phone?


    Opera Software