The most recent version of Opera Max, a free VPN app for Android, adds time limitations to the service which require users to become active to continue benefiting from Opera Max.
Opera Max is without the shadow of a doubt one of the better free VPN solutions for Android. It is easy to setup and does not limit you in terms of data that you may transfer before you are either asked to pay up or wait for the next period to begin.
The functionality that Opera Max provides goes beyond tunneling your Internet connection through company servers though; the app may reduce bandwidth when you are streaming music or stream video content, ships with a privacy mode that reveals apps that communicate with third-party servers (and may be used to block the communication), and may block any app from Internet access.
The nagging feature
You could use Opera Max up until now for as long as you liked. Install the app, turn on the data compression feature once and keep it running in the background for days, weeks or longer.
The new version of Opera Max changes that as it limits access to 12 hour periods. While this may sound bad at first, it is not the end of the world either.
When you enable Opera Max after installing or upgrading to the new version, you are informed that you have 11:59:xx hours left. Opera Max notifies you when you are about to run out of time so that you can refresh the time by opening the app and tapping on the "add time" button in the interface.
You are redirected to a new page whenever you do so that informs you about that, and displays an ad to you on top of that.
What's interesting about this is that you can do this repeatedly to add several 12 hour periods to your quota.
Why did Opera make the change?
While Opera did not release a statement why it changed the way Opera Max works, a likely explanation is to increase ad views and thus revenue.
It is clear that the operation of Opera Max is not free and that Opera pays for servers and infrastructure. Since there is no Opera Max Pro version available, Opera Software won't make any money from that which leaves advertisement as the main source of revenue.
The problem was that users did not have to open Opera Max regularly in previous versions. Once installed and enabled, Opera Max could run in the background all the time without the user ever opening the app again.
The new limitation pushes ad views and makes the use of Opera Max less comfortable in the process. This is especially problematic for Android users who use Opera Max all the time, and not only occasionally.
It would not surprise me if Opera Software would introduce Opera Max Pro in the near future that does away with time limited access for a yearly subscription fee.
Now You: Do you use Opera Max or other VPN or proxy solutions?