Tag Archives: Opera Mobile

Opera Mini and Mobile Continue Growing, Web Pass Gets off to a Good Start

OperaOpera Software has often highlighted Opera Mini as a browser that ‘connects the unconnected’. What they mean is that Opera Mini on mobile phones is often the only way a significant chunk of its users access the World Wide Web. Opera Mini is extremely popular in nations like India, Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, Malaysia, and Kenya, where PC penetration is low, but mobile phone penetration is extremely high. The reasons for this are obvious. Opera Mini works even on low-end phones, and is capable of rendering web pages that these phones would otherwise be unable to render. It also compresses web pages during the data transfer, thus increasing speed and reducing bandwidth consumption.

Putting two and two together, towards the end of 2012, Opera Software introduced a service called Web Pass. Web Pass offered mobile web surfers pay-as-you-go internet connections. Realizing that most people in developing nations don’t have means of online payment like Credit Cards, Opera tied up with mobile service providers to enable instant purchase that would be billed to the user’s mobile connection. Malaysia’s DiGi Telecommunications became Opera’s first partner, which allowed users to instantly purchase data packages. Pay as you go plans included cheap options like Facebook hourly pass (0.15 USD), as well as more full fledged data options like 24 hour internet packs (0.65 USD).

In this month’s State of the Mobile Web report, Opera Software zeroed in on its new Web Pass, and apprently it’s doing quite well. Some of the stats that Opera shared are:

  • Up to 52% of all Opera Web Passes in any given month were bought by returning customers.
  • By incentivizing use through a free Facebook hourly web pass for the entire month of January DiGi managed to increase the uptake of paid web passes significantly. This resulted in an average revenue increase of 56%, and a 65% increase of the average number of transactions per day, compared to the revenues before the promotion drive.
  • There has been a very low checkout-abandonment rate and an overall checkout success of more than 77% among users with sufficient funds.
    The most popular web pass is one that provides customers with time-based, unlimited access to Facebook.

Opera Software also revealed that it gained 8 million active mobile users in the month of January. The total user count of Opera’s various mobile offerings currently stands at 237 million. Opera is also doing fairly well in the smartphone segment, with a 32% of the total users of Opera Mini and Opera Mobile using smartphones to browse the web. These users constituted 32% of the new installs witnessed last month.

Opera Mobile 12.1 for Android Features Improved Security and Web Standards Support

Last month Opera spruced up Opera Mini for Android. Now, they have updated its full-featured sibling – Opera Mobile for Android. The changes are not massive, as indicated by the point increment in version number. However, they are still significant enough to make updating to the latest version worthwhile.

Opera Software now deploys four separate version of Opera Mobile, tailor made for ARM v5 and v7, MIPS and X86. Only the version that is suitable for your phone or tablet is automatically downloaded and installed, which means that you should notice a reduction in the amount of disk space consumed by the new Opera Mobile.

Most of the other new improvements are inspired by the work that Opera Software has been doing on its desktop browser. Opera Mobile now supports SPDY protocol, which enables faster browsing on compatible websites. Gmail and Twitter are two major services currently supporting SPDY. Support for websockets is also in, which means that web applications leveraging sockets for two-way communications will now work on your mobile phone as well. Other new web technologies supported includes CSS Animations and Flexbox, HTML5 Drag and Drop, and the HTML5 Clipboard API.

Finally, Opera Mobile 12.1 for Android improves security by adding support for fraud detection. Opera will now warn you before opening webpages that have been marked as being suspicious or used for illicit activity.

Opera-Mobile-Android-12

Opera Mobile lacks the inspired user interface of Chrome for Android; however, it is a great browser in its own right. If you can get past its ageing interface, you will appreciate its speed as well as the bouquet of unique features like Turbo.

[ Download Opera Mobile ]

Opera Mobile 12 Introduces Hardware Acceleration and Enhanced HTML5 Support

Opera Mobile for Android has been updated to introduce many of the shiny new features of Opera 11.6 and 12 to the mobile platform. The most visible change is the new “Infinite Speed Dial”, which supports bookmaking of as many websites as you want. Previously, you were limited to only 9 speed dials (visual bookmarks) in Opera Mobile. However, the biggest enhancements in Opera Mobile 12 are all under the hood improvements.

Opera-Mobile-12

Opera Mobile 12 features the Ragnarök HTML5 parser that was introduced in its desktop counterpart a few months back. Opera promises better web apps and increased compatibility with websites with the new parser. Native webcam support and device orientation detection specifications of HTML5 have also been implemented. As a result, Opera Mobile 12 now scores a whopping 354 points on HTML5Test.com. Chrome for Android, which supports only ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich), and Safari for iOS score 343 and 305 points respectively. Head over to shinydemos.com to check out the fancy new capabilities of Opera Mobile 12 and compare it with your mobile browser.

Opera Mobile 12 also does WebGL, which even Chrome for Android doesn’t support. WebGL is a graphics library that leverages the GPU (graphics processing unit) of a device to render complex 3D graphics in a web browser. “Opera have contributed significantly to the development of the WebGL specification and now Opera Mobile is playing a leading role in the roll-out of GPU-accelerated WebGL on Android,” said Neil Trevett, Khronos president and vice president of mobile content at NVIDIA.

Opera-Mobile-12-Speed-Test

Opera has always focused on trying to be available on as many platforms and in as many form factors as possible. In that spirit, Opera has also released lab builds of Opera Mobile that are optimized for MIPS and Intel architectures. MIPS is expected to be powering several low-cost Android tablets in the coming months. On the other hand, Intel is desperate to challenge ARM’s dominance in the mobile market, and will have a number of device launches across the budget spectrum in 2012. “Intel looks forward to a bright future with Android on Intel Atom processors,” remarked Doug Fisher, Vice President of the Software and Services Group and General Manager of the Systems Software Division at Intel.

Opera Mobile 12 for Android is available for download from the Market.

Opera Mobile and Opera Mini Receives Google Suggest and Auto-complete

As usual, Opera Software has been keeping itself busy. Just a couple of days after releasing Swordfish (Opera 11.50), it has pumped out another update. Opera Mini 6.1 and Opera Mobile 11.1 for a wide range of platforms have been released.

Opera-Mobile-Mini-Auto-CompleteAs suggested by the version number, this is a fairly minor update. There are two main improvements. The first one is support for auto-suggest for search engines. Currently, this feature is only available for Google and Yandex. The second enhancement is the addition of auto-complete for forms. Both of these are features that users had been requesting for quite some time. We have a saying at Opera: Listen to our users,said Dag Olav Norem, VP Product Management, Opera Software. As a company, we are constantly listening to our users on what they want in their browser. So, to our most vocal consumers, thank you and keep the feedback coming!

Opera Mini is mainly aimed at feature phones that don’t have enough power to run a full-fledged browser. The task of rendering websites is offloaded to Opera’s remote servers. They process the webpages and send a static representation back to the browser. It also compresses the webpages, which results in faster browsing on slower networks, and reduces bandwidth consumption. Although Opera Mini was initially intended for feature phones, it is now available for Android and iOS also. Smartphone owners who are on a slow network or a metered connection can use Opera Mini for a faster and cheaper browsing experience. Opera Mobile is the full-fledged mobile browsing solution that uses the same Presto rendering engine as the desktop browser. This means that Opera Mobile supports advanced HTML5 and CSS3 features, and is capable of running client-side scripts.

You can download the latest version of Opera Mini and Opera Mobile from m.opera.com.

Opera Launches Platform Independent Opera Mobile Store in More Than 200 Countries

Opera Software has tied up with Appia to launch Opera Mobile Store, an app store for mobile devices that supports pretty much every popular mobile platform under the sun, except iPhone and Windows Phone 7. Of course, supporting those two platforms is more than a little tricky for third party application repositories due to their locked down nature.

Opera Mobile Store will be integrated with Opera Mini and Opera Mobile in the form of a speed dial entry. This means that Opera will have direct access to approximately hundred million users around the globe. During its trial phase in February, the Opera Mobile Store attracted more than 15 million users, from 200 countries, amassing more than 700,000 downloads per day.

Opera-Mobile-Store

Opera Mobile Store is available at mobilestore.opera.com and features both free and paid apps. The app catalog is automatically user tailored based on his operating system, device resolution, country, currency and language. Platforms currently supported are Android, Java, Windows Mobile, Symbian, BlackBerry, and Palm.

The launch of the Opera Mobile Store supports Opera’s core belief in an open, cross-platform mobile Internet experience by providing Opera users with an integrated storefront of mobile applications,said Mahi de Silva, Exec. Vice President, Consumer Mobile, Opera Software. Our partnership with Appia delivers to all Opera Mobile and Opera Mini users easy access to a wide variety of great content, on any device, all over the world.

Opera Software has also launched the Opera Publisher Portal, which allows developers to submit their applications. Developers will get 70% of the net revenue generated by them, while Opera Software will keep the rest. Unlike the Android Market, Opera Mobile Store is moderated, and every app is manually approved. In the past Apple has received a lot of flak for their policy on adult apps. Opera has taken a similar approach with Mobile Store by banning all erotic content. However, unlike the iOS App Store, Opera Mobile Store doesn’t charge any subscription fee, and is completely free.

Opera Software Set to Showcase New Tablet Browser at CES 2011

OperaLast year, Opera Software gained attention at the CES by demoing the breezy Opera Mini for iPhone, which went on to become the first non-webkit based alternate browser for the iPhone. This year, the browser maker will be demoing its new browser tailor-made for Android based tablets and netbooks.

In 2011, tablets are a new must-have. Opera is creating waves with the first public preview of Opera for tablets,said Christen Krogh, Chief Development Officer, Opera Software. Opera for tablets brings the same trusted Internet experience to tablets and netbook PCs as users have come to love on their mobile phones and desktops.

Opera for tablets will be based on the yet to be unveiled Opera Mobile 10.5. As you can see in video embedded below, the user interface has been tweaked for bigger screens. Nevertheless, according to Haavard K. Moen, Opera for tablet will be supporting a wide range of form factors, and should be able to adapt itself to both small and large screen sizes. Little else is known about Opera for Tablet. However it will support flash, and should come with all the standard features of Opera Mobile like Opera Turbo, Opera Link (synchronization), speed dials, password manager and kinetic scrolling.

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.”

Opera-Mobile-10-Symbian

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.

Opera-Mobile-10-Symbian-Geolocation

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.

New Symbian^3 Browser From Nokia Delayed

The Nokia N8 has been criticized for its disastrous text input system and the slow inbuilt web browser. The inbuilt browser will become very slow if users try to load some heavy website on it. Along with this, the loading time take by the web browser is also very high. It was already known that Nokia is working on a new updated browser for Symbian^3 devices.

Symbian_Browser

Earlier, it was expected that the new browser will be released for public consumption before the end of the year but sadly that is not going to happen. Eldar from Mobile-Review has tweeted that Nokia has postponed the new browser for Symbian^3 devices to February, next year. I am pretty sure this piece of news must have broken the heart of many N8 and future N8 owners.

Until February, I would recommend Nokia owners to use Opera Mini or Opera Mobile as their default browser. Hopefully, the delay will be worth it!

(Source)

Opera Mobile 10.1 Beta for Android: Review and Benchmark

Android doesn’t have a dearth of browsers. But as they say, the more the merrier. Opera Software has just released Opera Mobile for Android – the more capable sibling of Opera Mini. “Android users now have a better choice when it comes to using a browser on their mobile devices,” said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software. “With Opera’s new browser for Android, we give users the opportunity to access the Web, using the best tools available”.

The folks at Opera Software were kind enough to provide me a preview release in advance. I have been using Opera Mobile on a regular basis for almost a week on my Xperia X10 (Android 2.1), as well as Chinmoy’s Legend (Cyanogen 6). Here’s my in-depth review of Opera Mobile. Please keep in mind that this review was done using a pre-release build of Opera Mobile. It’s possible that there might have been some changes in the final build.

Opera-Mobile-Android

At first glance, Opera Mobile is indistinguishable from Opera Mini. However, under the hood, there are major differences. In Opera Mini, the webpages are first sent to Opera’s remote servers, where they are rendered and compressed, and then sent to your device. Opera Mini doesn’t render the webpage. Instead it simply displays the parsed output received from Opera Mini’s servers. The compression algorithm used by Opera Mini not only saves bandwidth, but also dramatically speeds up browsing on slower internet connections. On the other hand, Opera Mobile is fully capable of rendering webpages locally. This enables it to handle dynamic web content (powered by JavaScript, AJAX etc.) better than Opera Mini. However, if you wish, you still have the option of enabling compression to improve page loading speed on slower connections. In Opera Mobile, like in Opera for Desktop, this feature is called Opera Turbo.

Opera-Mobile-Settings

As mentioned above, Opera Mobile’s biggest benefit over Opera Mini is its improved rendering capabilities. For example, it supports Geolocation, border-radius and CSS3 transitions. But, how does it stack up, when compared to other popular Android browsers? I compared it with Froyo’s stock browser and Firefox Mobile 4 Beta 2 (Fennec) to get an idea.

I started off with the Acid3 Test, which puts the browser’s CSS rendering capabilities through the paces. To my surprise, I found that none of the browsers managed to pass the test. Opera was the best performer, but by a fairly small margin.

Opera-Mobile-Acid-3
Acid 3 Test: Higher is Better

Next, I used the Sputnik test to check out the JavaScript rendering abilities of Fennec, Opera Mobile and the default browser. Sputnik is a crucial benchmark that indicate how standard compliant the JavaScript engine of each browser is. Opera pretty much owned this test. In fact, it was the only mobile browser that managed to finish the test without crashing or stalling.

Opera-Mobile-Sputnik
Sputnik: Lower is Better

Finally I picked the HTML5 Test to check out how future ready these browsers are. This test suite includes 300 tests that cover a wide-range of HTML5 and other related technologies that are likely to gain prominence in the future. Opera for desktop performs quite poorly in this test. Unsurprisingly, Opera Mobile fared even worse, with Fennec almost tripling Opera’s score.

Opera-Mobile-Sputnik
HTML5 Test: Higher is Better

The other critical factor when choosing a browser is speed. Opera for desktop is currently the fastest browser in the market, with a sizeable lead over Chrome. Does the mobile counterpart live up to Opera’s reputation? I tested this too, using Sunspider artificial benchmark.

Opera-Mobile-Speed-Test
Sunspider Test: Lower is Better

I used my friend’s Samsung Galaxy S (Android 2.2 – Darky’s Raw Steel) to run the speed tests. Sadly, Opera Mobile turned out to be a dud in the speed department. Not only was it slower than Firefox and the stock browser, but it was so by a huge margin. To be honest, the results took me by surprise, as I didn’t notice any speed issues during my regular browsing sessions.

(Update: The poor benchmark scores are due to the lack of JIT support in this build. Opera Mobile’s scores should jump considerably once that is uncorked. )

Opera Mobile’s interface is amongst the best I have seen in mobile browsers. In many mobile browsers, tabs almost appear to be an afterthought. Switching between them is often clumsy and time-consuming. Not in Opera Mobile. Features such as instant history navigation (pages from the history are opened instantly) and speed dials only adds to the intuitiveness of Opera Mobile. Other features we have come to expect from Opera Mobile and Opera Mini are also present in this build. Some of the notable ones are – password manager, bookmark and speed dials synchronization, search engine bar, in-page find, saving of pages, private data cleaner, download manager and more. Today’s release also introduces Pinch-to-Zoom support to Opera’s mobile products for the first time.

Opera-Mobile-Autocomplete

Unfortunately, there are a few serious issues with Opera Mobile that might be a deal breaker for many. First of all, the installation is pretty huge. In fact, with a disk space (ROM) requirement above 22 MB, it is the largest installed app I currently have on my handset. Also, if you switch to some other app while using Opera Mobile, the browser will quit and will be restarted when you return to it. This is actually not too different from the way other browsers work, and thankfully, Opera Mobile’s loading time is quite small. In fact, it’s actually less than half of Firefox’s loading time. However, the problem is that if you press the back button before the page has been loaded, Opera fails so remember it. Finally, possibly the biggest disappointment for me is the lack of any social feature whatsoever. You can’t tweet links, share webpages on Facebook, or send links via SMS. Adding this shouldn’t be too hard for any Android app developer, and by not taking advantage of the opportunities offered by Android, Opera Software is missing out on a trick or two.

On the whole, Opera Mobile manages to impress on its very first outing. It has a lot going for it. The interface is intuitive and functional, there are plenty of unique features that make it stand out, and it has a competent rendering engine. If it can improve upon it’s JavaScript benchmark scores and become more social, it might manage to become the definitive Android web browser. Nevertheless, if the missing sharing options aren’t a deal-breaker for you, I would highly recommend checking it out.

[ Download Opera Mobile 10.1 Beta for Android | Appbrain ]

Opera Mobile For Android Coming Within A Month

In an official blog post, Opera has confirmed that they are working on Opera Mobile for Android. Opera Mobile will bring with it pinch-to-zoom support and hardware acceleration. Hardware acceleration will allow Opera Mobile to run at lightning speed and make panning and zooming smoother by making optimum use of the GPU power.

Opera_Mobile_Android

Opera has promised to deliver the first public beta of Opera Mobile within the next month’ and it will be available via Android Market or m.opera.com. The Norwegian browser company will also be releasing an updated version of Opera Mini for the iPhone with hardware acceleration and pinch to zoom support.

With Mozilla also working hard on Firefox for Android, the Android browser competition is sure going to heat up.