Samsung has saved the defunct data-saving VPN app Opera Max from shutdown, rebranding it as Samsung Max.
The app came from well-known browser developer Opera, and sought to reduce users’ data usage, compressing images and videos and blocking requests for data from unauthorized apps. Despite a loyal following and solid reviews over its lifespan, the app had been consigned to the recycling bin following a decision from Opera, citing that the app was too different from Opera’s popular browsers, and that it would be shelved as a result.
Following the decision, the app was pulled from the Google Play Store, according to VentureBeat, and was awaiting execution at the hands of Opera. Thankfully for users, it has arisen, like a phoenix from the ashes, in the form of Samsung Max, a Samsung-branded version of the same app.
However, it’s not all good news. While users of Opera Max can expect to receive an update, it would be a wise move for some to switch off updates, as Samsung Max does not currently work on any device that isn’t a compatible Samsung phone, essentially breaking the app for some users.
VentureBeat also reports the VPN feature has been removed, replaced with a DNS masking service that still shows your true IP address. However, there are still significant privacy modes included, including monitors that watch your system to highlight which apps are making data requests, as well as suggestions of data-saving versions of apps you have installed. Samsung’s press release also promises that the app will secure open Wi-Fi hot spots with features like one-tap encryption and tracker blocking, ensuring that you stay safe.
While it’s unclear whether Samsung paid much — or anything — for the app, it is clear that Samsung saw an opportunity in the doomed app. Samsung Max will come included on all Galaxy A and Galaxy J-series smartphones sold in India, Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, Thailand, and Vietnam, while other Galaxy devices can choose to download the app from the Play Store. The move is a part of Samsung’s larger plans for “Make for India” — a reach into the emerging smartphone market, and especially important in countries where data is scarce and users work to conserve the mobile data they have. We saw Google launch a similar app, Datally, a few months back, with the same aim of reducing data usage in emerging markets.