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Onavo — Save money by maximising your mobile data

Mobile data caps are a necessary evil. If network operators don’t impose caps, their networks will crash from the massive data load. When they do impose caps, subscribers cry foul. But that is the way it has to be, mobile networks can’t cope with data demand if operators continue offering buffet all-you-can-use data plans. We’ll just have to make do and make the most out of it.

Here’s a nifty app that helps you make the most out of your piddly mobile data caps.

The makers of Onavo claims that you can double or even triple your data usage when you use the app. Onavo routes and compresses pages that you want to access through cloud-based servers so that you use less data when downloading pages — by up to 80% says the developers.

Although Onavo would be great for daily for those on small data plans, the app is most useful when you’re roaming. As data roaming is typically charged on a pay-per-use plan, with Onavo, you would theoretically be using less data to use the same amount of internet.

It is a novel idea but it’s not without its downsides. Most obvious of which is privacy, while on Onavo, all your data traffic is routed through their servers, this means the people at Onavo can technically see what you’re surfing and read the emails that you’re sending. So if you’re doing some really P&C stuff, Onavo might not be for you.

Another downside is that Onavo doesn’t compress videos and it only works for data donwloads, not uploads. Also, because of the routing, some sites might take longer to load.

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The app is available for free from the App Store and it supports iPad, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 running iOS 4.0 or later. iPod touch and iPhone 3G users are out of luck at the moment. iTunes link here.