Opera Max Android data manager app abruptly closes down

Opera Max was first introduced in 2014. Image: Opera Software

Opera Max, an app that allows users to manage and reduce data usage across their Android mobile phone applications, will soon be no more.

In a short statement, the company said, “Opera has now decided to discontinue Opera Max. The product had a substantially different value proposition than our browser products, and represented a different focus for Opera. We, therefore, focus on our browsers and other upcoming services.”

The company also said that while the service will remain running for existing users “for a period of time,” there will be no further updates for Opera Max, and the application has been delisted from the Google Play store catalog.

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Initially released in 2014, the service as of May claimed to have 78 million active monthly users, and the app in Google Play racked up a half-million downloads. It was conceived as a smart assistant to help users manage their Android data consumption by showing app-by-app mobile and Wi-Fi data usage, along with personalized advice on how to best reduce wasted data. In May, it unveiled an entirely refreshed user interface with Opera Max 3.0, which added support for managing Facebook usage along with security protections. It promised up to 50% in data savings for social media users—and up to 60% for Instagram lovers.

While it was well-accepted, especially in markets where mobile broadband is expensive and not plentiful (Samsung bundled it on its low-cost Galaxy J series smartphones in India and Kenya), Opera continues to peel away layers that may not be additive to its margins and core business. Last year, it spun off more than half of its operations to a Qihoo 360-led consortium in China, retaining its advertising platform (Opera Mediaworks, now known as AdColony), the Opera Apps & Games division and Opera TV, as well as 560 employees.

In the wider wireless market, the action is noteworthy as the prices for data continue to fall. In the United States, all of the nation's major wireless carriers now offer unlimited data plans, offerings that essentially remove the need for users to count their bits and bytes.