Opera Mobile 10.1 Arrives on Symbian

Barely a day after Opera 11 Beta was released, Opera Software has launched Opera Mobile 10.1 final for Symbian (Symbian^3, and Symbian S60 3rd and 5th editions). “Powerful smartphones deserve an equally powerful browser,” said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software. “Opera Mobile 10.1 today brings the best mobile browsing experience to the world’s most popular smartphone platform.”

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Opera 10.1 for Symbian features JIT (just-in-time) compilation for Carakan JavaScript Engine, which is not yet available on Opera Mobile for Android. JIT should significantly boost Opera’s JavaScript rendering speed. In fact, Opera is claiming that the latest build is nine times faster than its predecessor on SunSpider benchmark. Like its desktop counterpart, Opera Mobile uses Presto rendering engine and Vega graphics library to offer a powerful web-browsing experience.

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Also new in Opera 10.1 is Geolocation, which enables web applications like Maps to directly grab your current location (obviously, with your permission).

Opera Mobile 10.1 retains all the usual goodies we have come to love from Opera, including powerful tabbed browsing, search bar, history, visual speed dial, find in page, bookmarks, online sync, password manager and Opera Turbo. You can download it from opera.com/mobile or by browsing to m.opera.com from your mobile browser.

Opera Floors Reddit: Gets Co-Founder to Ride the Narwhal over a Double Rainbow

Opera Software is no stranger to theatrics. Back when Opera 8 was released, Jon S. von Tetzchner, then CEO of Opera, attempted a cross-Atlantic swim to celebrate 1 million downloads. However, when it comes to going viral, Firefox always managed one up Opera.

A lot has changed since then. Opera now has more than 140 million users, and also seems to be getting really good at leveraging social media. Earlier in the year, Opera had us in splits with the Odd and Even browser speed test parody. However, as we have seen on numerous occasions, the best of the best viral stuff are impromptu creations with a touch of genius. That’s what happened yesterday.

Yesterday, a Redditor, who described himself as a “person with zero creative talent”, offered to draw anything requested by the community in MS Paint. An Opera employee, who also appears to be an avid Redditor, quickly took the opportunity to request a picture of Tetzchner riding a narwhal over a double rainbow. As an added incentive, he offered to put up the result on the home page of Opera. Here’s what the fellow Redditor came up with.

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And this is what happened afterwards.

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Opera Software obviously has quite a few avid Redditors. In fact, they have been campaigning heavily on Reddit for the past few weeks. Besides purchasing ad impressions, they also did an IamA (I am a), which was a roaring success. Opera Software was widely applauded for “doing it right” and clocked in more than 35,000 downloads from their Reddit campaign. They obviously got a few more yesterday. Well done!

Opera 11 Beta Released: Introduces Tab Stacking and More

Opera is one of the pioneers of tabbed browsing. It might not have been the first tabbed browser, but many of the features we see in current tabbed browsers were first seen in Opera. With every major new version, Opera has continued to enhance its already refined tabbed browsing interface. They introduced “Trash Can” (recycle bin for closed tabs) in version 8, tab thumbnails in version 9, and visual tabs in version 10. Opera 11 upholds this tradition with the introduction of “Tab stacking”.

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Opera: Pioneer of Tabbed Browsing

Opera 11 Beta has just been released. Most of the new features like visual mouse gestures, smarter address bar and improved mail panel, were previewed in the recent snapshot builds. Check out our earlier coverage for a low-down on these features.

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Opera 11: Visual Mouse Gestures

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Opera 11: Enhanced Address Bar

The surprise new feature is the aforementioned tab stacking. Tab stacking allows you to group tabs by simply dragging and dropping them on top of each other. Users can look into the contents of a group by either hovering the mouse over a group (which triggers a thumbnail preview of all the tabs in the group), or by clicking the tiny arrow next to each group’s button. By the way, don’t yet try to directly stack two tabs residing in different windows. I tried it thrice, and Opera crashed right away on each occasion.

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Opera 11: Tab Stacking

“Tabs are the most popular feature in browsers today,” said Jan Standal, VP of Desktop Products, Opera. “Because so many of us wrestle with tens or even hundreds of open tabs, we needed a way to simplify tab management. Just like stacking papers for future reference, stacking your tabs is an intuitive way to organize and collect your open Web pages.”

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Opera 11: Tab Stacking (Thumbnail Preview)

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Opera 11: Tab Stacking (Expanded)

Opera 11 Beta introduces further refinements to Opera extensions, which were introduced in Opera 11 Alpha. Currently, Opera has 131 extensions, which have been downloaded over 500,000 times, with ten to twenty extensions being submitted for approval every day. If you are an Opera 11 user, check out some of our favorite extensions over here.

[ Download Opera 11 Beta ]


Opera 11: Tab Stacking Introduction

Valve Delays Portal 2 to April

Bad news folks. Portal 2, the sequel to the mind-bendingly awesome Portal, has been delayed to April 18, 2011. This will undoubtedly upset the fans of the original innovative puzzle game that edged out many high-budget blockbusters to win over 30 game of the year awards. But then, this is Valve we are talking about. Did any of you actually expect them to deliver this on time? Heck, the two months delay is a pretty small deal when compared with some of Valve’s previous schedule slippages. Here’s Valve’s tongue-in-cheek press release:

Valve today announced that Portal 2— the sequel to the ground-breaking title that won over 30 game of the year awards, despite missing its original ship date—will now be available the week of April 18th, 2011. This two month slip not only marks the shortest delay in Valve’s proud tradition of delays, it represents the approaching convergence of Valve Time and Real Time. Though this convergence spells doom for humanity, it will not affect the new Portal 2 release date.

Valve might not be known for delivering games on time, but they are definitely known for their quality. Let’s hope that Portal 2 will truly live up to Valve’s reputation.

State of Opera (Q3 2010): Increases Revenue, But Fails to Gain New Desktop Users

Earlier in the day, I took a look at the State of Mozilla report, which highlighted impressive all around gains for the open source browser maker. Opera Software, one of the smaller competitors of Mozilla, also recently published its own financial report.

According to the third quarter (2010) report, Opera Software posted record revenues of 178.3 MNOK (million Norwegian krone), which is a 32% year on year growth. A major driving factor was partnerships with device manufacturers and telecom providers. Among others, Opera has partnerships telecom service providers like Telenor, Vodafone, AT&T, Sprint, MTC (MTS) and Virgin, and mobile phone manufacturers like HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. Opera is also a player in the connected TV market, and licenses its technology to Phillips, Toshiba, Sharp, Thomson, Realtek and others.

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Desktop revenue increased by 41%, whereas revenue from internet devices increased by 32%. Opera currently has more than 140 million users, with a vast majority of them being on Opera Mini. Unfortunately for Opera, although its revenue from desktop products increased, the number of users witnessed decrease in consecutive quarters. Opera Software is blaming this on seasonal variations, which sounds rather convenient. Seasonal fluctuations are generally small enough to be compensated by gaining a few million users. If they are significant to have a visible impact on Opera’s userbase, then that is because Opera has actually failed to reach out to a significant number of new users. Unless maintaining status quo is considered to be success at Opera, there is no hiding the fact that Opera is still failing to make its presence felt in the desktop segment. It’s also rather convenient that Opera is bringing up seasonal fluctuations now. No one mentioned it, when they were gaining users.

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Of late, Opera Software has been making all the right moves with its desktop offering. In fact, Opera 11 alpha was downloaded 370,000 times in the first two days. I really hope that Opera 11 will help them in gaining more users. However, before that, they should be prepared to at least acknowledge exactly where they stand.

The State of Mozilla: No Armageddon for Firefox

Mozilla has published its annual report for the year 2009, which takes a look at how Firefox is doing competitively and financially, along with what is planned for the future, and frankly, things are looking quite rosy for the open source browser maker.

Firefox-State

Firefox has more than 140 million active daily users and in excess of 400 million total users. The much delayed Firefox 4 will introduce significant performance improvements along with a host of other promising changes. Mozilla is also working on broadening its scope by making inroads into the mobile sector with Firefox (Fennec) for Meego and Android, and Firefox Home for the iPhone.

Financially also Mozilla is doing quite well. In 2009, it generated consolidated reported revenues of $104 million, up 34 percent from 2008 reported revenues of $78 million. This includes a $104,000 loss from long term investments, which is again a considerable improvement from previous years figure of $7.8 million. As before, a significant portion of the revenue comes from Google and other partners like Yahoo, Yandex, Amazon, eBay and a handful of others.

Mozilla has had a partnership with Google since 2004, and has renewed their contract three times, in 2005, 2006 and 2008. Their current contract is up for renewal next year. Some publications like Silicon Alley Insider have already begun dubbing 2011 as the Armageddon year for Firefox based on the apprehension that Google might choose not to renew their contract with Firefox, which is one of the biggest competitors of Google Chrome. However, what they are forgetting is that the search itself is a competitive segment, and Firefox’s large user base will provide Mozilla with plenty of bargaining chips. It’s unlikely that Google will be too keen to let Bing become the default search engine in Firefox without a fight.

Google Sky Map Gets ‘Time Travel’ Feature

No, you can’t actually go back in time. But hey, you can at least check out how the stars were aligned when Apollo 11 landed on the Moon, or Kennedy was assassinated. Google Sky Map’s new ‘Time Travel‘ feature allows you to go back or forward in time and check out how the sky will look at your location on any given day.

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Google Sky Map is a super cool augmented reality app that allows budding astronomers and sky gazers to learn more about the stars and constellations decking the sky. The user can simply point their Android phones towards the sky to learn about the celestial object they are pointing at.

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Google-Sky-Map-QR-Code The Time Travel feature allows the user to smoothly travel to his desired datr and time. He can even forward or rewind to see how the sky gradually changes with time. Use the attached QR code to download Sky Map from the Market.

Lightweight Angry Birds for Lesser Android Phones is under Development

Angry Birds for Android has been making a lot of Android users happy with its addictive and fun gameplay. It raked in 1 million downloads within the first 24 hours, and has been going strong ever since. Unfortunately, Angry Birds doesn’t work perfectly on some Android handsets. Although the game is not as demanding as some of the other games (especially the gameloft ones), it does require a decent processor. As a result, users with an old or a low-end Android handset, might experience performance issues.

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The handsets that are not officially supported by Rovio Mobile (developers of Angry Birds) include HTC Hero, HTC Tattoo, HTC Wildfire and Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini among others. Fortunately for users of these phones, Rovio doesn’t intend on ignoring them. They are currently working on a lightweight version of Angry Birds, which will be optimized for devices with less processing power. Rovio has indicated that the light version will have the same number of levels as the original Angry Birds for Android.

New Snapshot of Opera 11 Introduces Smarter Address Bar and Visual Mouse Gestures

Almost a month has passed since the release of Opera 11 for desktop (Windows, UNIX and Mac), which finally introduced extensions to the venerable browser, and added some other nifty features like the mail panel. In the meantime, Opera Software has released multiple snapshots with further improvements, and more than a hundred extensions have been submitted to Opera’s official extensions gallery.

Earlier today, the Norwegian browser maker released, what is perhaps the most significant build since the original Opera 11 alpha. The new build fixes a hefty number of bugs, while improving Opera’s extensions API. The most significant changes are:

i) Improved Address Bar: Chrome has already succeeded in redefining the web-browser UI (user interface). It was the first browser to get rid of the complicated menu structure, and merge the tab bar with the address bar. Opera Software implemented this in Opera 10.5. Now, they have taken another leaf out of Chrome’s book to simplify the address bar. The new address bar hides parameters in URL and the protocol prefix (http://, ftp:// etc.), and highlights the main domain name when not in focus. It also prominently displays security information about the website currently open. While some advanced users might be turned off by the new address bar’s tendency to hide URL parameters, the purpose behind this move is clear. Opera Software wants to make it as easy as possible for novice web surfers to spot phishing sites.

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ii) New Mouse Gesture UI: Opera was the first browser to add mouse gesture support (with Opera 5 released in 2000), and is still one of the few browsers to offer it out of the box. Mouse Gestures is a brilliantly addictive and useful feature that improves productivity by enabling the user to perform common tasks with a flick of his mouse. Unfortunately, most users aren’t even aware that this feature exists, and even those that are aware, use very few basic gestures. The latest snapshot introduces a new UI that pops up when you right click and hold the mouse for a while (provided that you have enabled Mouse Gestures). This UI guides you through some simple gestures that you are likely to find very handy.

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iii) Improved Mail Panel: The newly introduced mail panel has been refined to make to make it more pleasant both visually and in terms of usability.

You can download the latest snapshot from Opera’s Desktop Team blog. However, keep in mind that this is preview build, and has some known (and possibly several unknown) issues.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X12 (Anzu) Gets Slaughtered in its First Preview

The rumors regarding Sony Ericsson Xperia Anzu were correct, for most part. The Anzu exists, and will be launched as Xperia X12 – Sony Ericsson’s next flagship model. The X12 is expected to hit the stores in early 2011, and will (probably) be sporting FroYo at launch. This is a deviation from initial reports that suggested that Anzu will launch with Gingerbread (Android 2.3) onboard. Now, it appears that Gingerbread will be made available as a separate update at some point during the summer of 2011.

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Mobile-Review managed to get their hands on an early development build, which was running vanilla Android 2.1. The reviewer found the device to be quite snappy. However, the real question is, how well will the X12 perform once the custom shell (UXP) has been plastered on top of the vanilla Android. The X12 will also feature an twelve megapixel camera with 720p HD recording at 30fps.

Possibly the biggest let downs in the X12 are its display and processor. It will have a 4.2FWVGA (854×480) capacitive display with full multi-touch support. However, Sony Ericsson has decided to continue using traditional LCD displays instead of the AMOLED or SLCD displays used by HTC.

As disclosed earlier, the Xperia X12 will be powered by MSM7230. The processor (45nm) in X12 will most likely be clocked at 800 MHz, and in terms of performance will be quite similar to the current generation snapdragons (65nm). However, the MSM7230 uses Adreno 205 as its GPU unit, which is a significant step up from the previous Adreno 200.

On the whole, the Xperia X12 is a nice update. However, Xperia X12 looks poorly poised to be the flagship model, as its modest processor is no match for TI’s OMAP 4 and Samsung’s Orion.