The Onavo app promises to make your mobile internet browsing faster and more efficient. Download a simple app, tap three times and your mobile becomes 70% quicker. Too good to be true? As our Orange 3G signal in London is incredibly poor, we took the app on a very personal test.
And it worked. Phenomenally. For the first time ever, we were able to use the web out-and-about on Orange. We finally know what Steve Jobs was talking about when he said “it’s a phone, an iPod and an internet communicator”.
Onavo works by installing a new profile on your device that routes your incoming mobile traffic through their servers. Once there, the company goes compression wild and shrinks all the data to a much more manageable mobile size.
The process is completely automated, so no-one will be prying over the computers to view the data. The service ignores HTTPS (securer) data, so your bank information won’t end up bouncing around Onavo’s servers.
Onavo isn’t just limited to web data, but also other apps – so Google Maps or image-intensive apps will have compressed information. It doesn’t affect VoIP traffic, however, so don’t expect less data-intensive calls.
The process is very similar to what RIM do for Blackberries, compressing the data and creating a much faster online service.
The downside is that images are sometimes over-compressed, leaving pictures a blurry, square-y mess. Most of the time (and with Google Maps), you’ll be fine. For pictures that are very mono-colour, however, it can turn a face into a sandpit. It’ll also strip HTML data out of e-mails, so bolding and italics are victims of the smaller file sizes.
The app itself has an “on/off” switch for choosing when you want to service to run – and it automatically disables when you’re using a WiFi connection. It also tells you how much data you’ve saved so far, in what areas you use the most data (web, maps, other, adsheet), and what saving that is percentage-wise.
On maps, we’ve regularly saving 70% a day – perfect if you get lost abroad. Our total saving comes in at around 44%, with Shazam at an impressive 80%, Facebook at 46% and the web at 34%.
A comprehensive FAQ is available on the company’s website, although we can answer the most important question: yes, it’s awesome.