Opera Software Now Has 100 Million Users – Only 50% Are On Desktop

Opera-100-Million It seems that Opera loves to stay in the news. Now that they have taken a break from releasing new products at a breakneck pace, they are keeping themselves busy by drafting self-congratulatory press releases. The latest one celebrates the fact that Opera Software reached the milestone of having 100 million users in March.

Of course, this is not a surprising piece of news, since Opera Mini had amassed 50 million users in January 2010 itself. The desktop version was reported as having 45 million users back in December 2009.

As always, there are two ways of looking at these stats. The fact that Opera Mini has rocketed to 50 million users bodes well for Opera Software. However, its desktop browser continues to disappoint. Opera may have added 40 million active users since it went free, but its market share still pales in comparison to Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. In fact, according to most analytic firms, Opera for desktop is still struggling to touch the 3% mark.

Opera 10.5 was undoubtedly an impressive release, but Chrome’s recent beta builds have once again highlighted the glaring omissions in Opera. In spite of being around for more than a decade, Opera still doesn’t have an intelligent form filler and the lack of an API means that others can’t build one either. Google has been incredibly smart about Chrome. Since they outset they have targeted key features and now their vision is paying rich dividends. Until Opera Software wakes up, it will continue to struggle to go mainstream.

Browser Saturday: Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari Get Pwned, Opera Puts the Ball in Apple’s Court

The big event this week on the browser security forefront is the Pwn2Own content, which challenges hackers to break through the defenses of top browsers and operating systems. As expected by most security experts, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari fell quite quickly. Chrome is the only browser still standing (sadly Opera was not included in the challenge). You can find more information about the exploits used by the winning participants over here.

Pwn2Own wasn’t the only thing happening in the browser-sphere. Here is a quick look at other major events from this week.

Internet Explorer

It’s been almost a month since the browser ballot screen went live. While it has definitely had a positive impact on the download rate of alternate browsers, there is still confusion regarding its effect on Internet Explorer’s dominance. According to Statcounter, Internet Explorer has managed to hold on to its market share. This suggests that a lot of users are in fact returning to Internet Explorer after checking out the alternatives. However, now QuantCast is reporting that Internet Explorer’s shares may have dipped by as much as 5% over the course of 3 weeks

Awhile, Microsoft is yet to patch the previously discussed critical vulnerability in Internet Explorer 6.0x and 7.0x. If you are still on older versions of IE, ensure that you have applied the suggested workarounds.


Fennec-Firefox-Windows-Phone-Mobile This was an interesting week for Firefox. Following the German Government’s advisory, which warned surfers against using Firefox, Mozilla fast-tracked the release of Firefox 3.6.2 which fixed multiple security issues.

On the mobile space, Mozilla stopped development of Firefox (Fennec) for Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7. This decision was prompted by Microsoft’s refusal to release a NDK for Windows Phone 7, which made developing native applications impossible.



This was a jolly good week for Google Chrome. It proved itself to be the most secure browser in the Pwn2Own contest, and now Google has pushed through Chrome Beta 5 for Windows. Chrome 5 introduces a host of new features including Windows 7 Taskbar Tabs and an intelligent form filler. V8 (JavaScript engine) has been refined even further and according to our preliminary tests, the new build of Chrome edges out Opera 10.51 for the title of the fastest browser in the world.

Earlier this week, Google also unveiled its new ANGLE (Almost Native Graphics Layer Engine) project, which will enhance Chrome’s graphics rendering capabilities across platforms.


Opera Software finally submitted Opera Mini for iPhone to the app store for approval. Whether Apple will approve it or not is a million dollar question. However, Opera has certainly played its part well and has succeeded in getting everyone’s attention. If Apple does reject this app, it will undoubtedly have to endure another wave of negative publicity and possibly even more (we already know that the FCC has been watching ever since the Google Voice saga).

On the desktop front, Opera continued its aggressive release cycle. Opera 10.51 for Windows fixed a couple of highly critical security vulnerabilities along with a host of bug fixes and all-around performance improvement. UNIX and MAC users also had plenty of snapshot builds to keep them busy. Click here to get the latest snapshot build for Windows, UNIX and Mac.

That is all I have for this week. Subscribe to our Feed to get instant updates through the week.

Opera Mini For iPhone Submitted To Apple App Store For Approval

Opera Software has just submitted Opera Mini for iPhone to the App store for approval. The browser was first demoed at MWC ’10, where it received rave reviews from almost everyone who got an opportunity to play with it.

According to internal testing, Opera Mini loads pages up to 6 times faster than iPhone’s default browser i.e. Safari. The huge difference is because all pages are first routed through Opera’s proxy servers where there are compressed by up to 90%. The server-side compression also reduces your bandwidth bills and is ideal if you are on roaming.

Opera Mini is the world’s most popular mobile browser, which offers an exciting mix of features packaged in a neat and intuitive UI (user interface). Opera Mini for iPhone is similar to Opera Mini for Java (and other platforms). All the standard features including tabbed browsing, search engine integration, Opera Link (data synchronization), visual speed dial, password manager and find-in-page are present in Opera Mini for iPhone. In fact, there are even a few extra goodies such as session restore. Like its desktop counterpart, Opera Mini for iPhone can resume browsing from where you left off last time. This is a crucial feature for a platform, which does not allow multitasking. However, Opera Mini has its own disadvantages – the major ones being its inability to render rich web content (for example AJAX heavy websites) and the lack of pinch-and-zoom.


Overall, Opera Mini is an impressive browser, which would appeal to a large section of iPhone users. However, the big question is whether Apple will approve it. Apple is not known for being kind to competition and that is exactly what Opera Mini is. Apple is yet to allow any browser, which does not use Safari’s (Webkit) rendering engine. However, if Apple decides to follow its SDK License to the word, then Opera Software might just get away. Opera Mini does not interpret or execute any code. Instead, all the rendering is done on Opera’s servers. Opera Mini simply displays pre-rendered pages received from its servers.

Only time will tell if Apple will do the right thing for once. Opera is clearly trying to pressurize the App Store approval team through a carefully orchestrated campaign. Let’s hope that their tactics will pay off.

Opera Software Announces Widgets for Opera Mini

Opera-Mini-Widgets Opera Software has announced that widgets will now be available on any device capable of running Opera Mini. This is in line with what we were told at Capital Markets Day 2010.

Opera Software has been heavily promoting widgets ever since its inception. To be frank, Opera widgets on desktop are not very useful. However, the situation is quite different with Opera widgets for mobile. Over there, tiny applications such as widgets are often just what a user needs. For example, a simple eBook reader or currency converter is an extremely handy app to have on a mobile phone. On the other hand, the developers get the opportunity to develop applications, which will work on almost any phone.

Our new Widgets platform releases operators and manufacturers from the native application box and gives them the tools needed to develop Web-based content that is fun, useful and available to everyone,said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software.

The new widgets platform will take advantage of the recently announced cross-platform UI framework. By rebuilding Opera Mobile Widgets Manager with the new UI framework, Opera Software is hoping to help mobile service providers and handset manufacturers deliver a better, more unified user experience on nearly any phone.

Opera 10.51 for Windows Released – Now Faster Than Ever Before

Opera-10.51 Opera Software has just released Opera 10.51 for Windows, which is a recommended security and stability update. As suggested by its version number, the changes are mostly under the hood and there are no new features.

This build addresses a couple of highly critical security issues, including the malformed HTTP Content-Length header issue, which we had discussed earlier;. The other security issue is related to XSLT (XSL Transformations). Due to a bug, it was possible to use certain XSLT constructs to retrieve random contents of unrelated documents (including sensitive data from previously visited websites).


Opera 10.51 also includes Carakan (Opera’s JavaScript engine) optimizations. As a result, it should be faster than ever before. In fact, PeaceKeeper scores can be 20-30% higher than in Opera 10.50. This is quite a significant achievement, since Carakan was already faster than its competitors.

The official changelog is fairly big and a large number of UI inconsistencies and bugs have been quashed in this release. Opera 10.51 can be downloaded from opera.com/download.

Browser Choice Screen Results In 130% Increase in Opera’s Downloads

As expected, the browser choice screen (also known as the browser ballot) is having a significant positive impact on alternate browsers. Norwegian browser maker Opera Software has revealed that they are experiencing a 130% increase in browser download rates as a result of the choice screen. In fact, the choice screen now accounts for as much as 53% of the total downloads from Europe.


The effect is most pronounced in Poland where the browser choice screen has led to a three-fold increase in the download rates and now accounts for 77% of all downloads. Downloads from Spain, Italy and Denmark have also increased significantly. Surprisingly enough, Norway is one of the countries least affected by the browser screen. Perhaps, this is because awareness about the homegrown browser is already high in Norway.

Although, Apple and Google have declined to share any statistic, both Opera and Firefox have confirmed that they are experiencing significantly increased download rates. In the coming months, it will be interesting to see if the browser choice screen manages to have a significant effect on browser market.

Mobile Web Browsing Just Got Smarter – Opera Mini 5 and Opera Mobile 10 Released

I don’t know what the developers at Opera Software have for breakfast, but it is certainly good stuff. Over the past few weeks, they have been churning out new releases at a frantic pace. Closely following the release of Opera 10.50 for Windows and Opera Mini 5 Beta for Android and Windows Mobile, Opera Software has just released the final builds of Opera Mini 5 (for Java and Blackberry handsets) and Opera Mobile 10 (for Symbian S60 and Windows Mobile).


Opera Mini 5 designed to work on pretty much any phone that supports J2ME applications. Native versions are available for some platforms (such as Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Android handsets), however the feature set for all editions is similar.


Opera Mini 5 is a huge improvement over Opera Mini 4 and bears little resemblance to its predecessor. The interface has been completely revamped and is both stylish and intuitive. New features include tabbed browsing, visual speed dial, adaptive zoom, touch-screen support, password manager, privacy manager, download manager, inline editing, find-in-page and copy-paste support. Existing features such as Opera Links (synchronization), RSS feed reader, address auto-completion and landscape mode have been retained.


Opera Mini is currently the most popular mobile browser in the world with more than fifty million users. Its biggest advantage is speed. In order to overcome the limitations imposed by the weak hardware of basic phones, all webpages are routed through Opera’s servers, where they are rendered and compressed. Opera claims that it can reduce size of pages by up to 90%, thus providing a dramatic speed boost while reducing bandwidth costs.


Opera Mobile 10 is the more feature-packed brethren of Opera Mini and currently supports Symbian S60 and Windows Mobile. It features the same rendering engine (Presto) utilized by Opera for desktop and is better suited to render dynamic content.

Other features include tabbed browsing, password manager, privacy manager, kinetic scrolling, auto-rotation, adaptive zoom, touch-screen support, find-in-page and speed dial. Opera Mobile 10 also retains Opera Turbo, which once again relies on server-side compression to reduce bandwidth usage and increase surfing speed on slow connections.

Opera was one of the first companies to envision a united open web. This has allowed them a head start over competitors. However, they aren’t resting on their laurels. Keeping in mind the needs and wants of our 50+ million users, we have emphasized speed, desktop-like functionality and data savings in our mobile browsers. Today, we have made it even easier for everyone to surf, search and socialize on the Web,said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software. Opera Software’s latest mobile offerings retain their tradition of innovation and are indeed a force to be reckoned with.

[ Download Opera Mini 5 and Opera Mobile 10 for your handset ]

Lobbying For Opera On The iPhone

Let’s get this clear, Apple has a very bad practice of rejecting apps, which are uhm, better than what they can come up with (amongst other reasons) for frivolous reasons a potboiler movie could be made out of.


In the next few weeks, will submit a new browser to the app store for the . The Opera browser for iPhone looks brilliant and has features which Apple could not cook up in the previous 3 4 generations of iPhone.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have a iPod Touch and love browsing on Safari, but the fact is that Opera is a better mobile browser, and I have used it extensively on my Symbian S60 phone (and also on a Phone) for years now, however, I am sad for fanboys while I say that the Opera browser rocks and Safari sucks.

The fact that Opera has touch to enlarge portion and single finger navigation makes it much better than Safari which has pinch to enlarge, based on the videos I have seen. Repeated requests to Opera team members to send me the actual Opera app has gone unheeded.

I can envision a funny scenario on the email that Apple sends to Opera while rejecting their app from the app store:

Sorry, we have rejected your app, because we don’t want competition and don’t include apps which are better than ours. To top it your browser has tabbed navigation for easier access, a better home screen, a better touch interface and in the end makes Safari look like a lame app? For this and only this reason, should we say these reasons, we are rejecting the Opera Mini browser application from the app store.

Please feel free to distribute your app through Cydia or any other channels which jailbroken iPhone and iPod Touch use, after all it’s free right? We support and wish you best of luck with the unofficial app store for people who crack their devices because they think we are on crack. Cheers!! Steve Jobs and company. Oh well, cheers from Apple too.

We don’t need lobbyists to push how good the Opera browser will turn out on the iPhone or iPod Touch. However, knowing Apple, they would not allow a "much better" app, specially a browser "which is a competition to an apple product", to float around on the iPhone, specially when it competes with Safari. 100 cheers to closed software and stupid app approvals.

Let’s hope that Apple does approve the app and gives me a chance to not jailbreak iPhone to enjoy the forbidden fruit. If Apple does a turnaround and approves Opera for the iPhone and iPod Touch, I promise all the fanboys that I will buy an .

3 cheers to Opera, hope to see you soon on the iPhone.

Browser Saturday: Browser Security Woes, Firefox Account Manager, Opera Mini for Android and More

Welcome to another edition of Browser Saturday – the weekly roundup of all major browser related news. Without further ado let us get started.

Internet Explorer

This was a particularly rough week for Internet Explorer users. Early in the week, Microsoft released a security advisory warning users about a critical vulnerability in Internet Explorer 6 and 7, which could result in the execution of malicious code. Soon, multiple security product vendors confirmed that the vulnerability was indeed being exploited by hackers to attack unsuspecting users. To make matters worse Israeli researcher Moshe Ben Abu published the exploit code. Check out our original article to learn more about this issue.

Microsoft also tweaked the browser ballot screen – which has already given a boost to alternate browsers, to remove any inherent bias.


Rock-Your-FirefoxMozilla publically launched RockYourFirefox – a central repository for users looking to enhance their browsing experience. RockYourFirefox would regularly feature some of the best Firefox extensions along with reviews, feedback and insights from Firefox users around the web.

However, the most exciting development of the week was the announcement of Mozilla Account Manager. It is a new Mozilla Labs project, which aims to make managing accounts on different websites simpler by allowing users to sign-in/sign-out from the toolbar itself. Check out our in-depth coverage to get an idea about this possibly revolutionary product.

Mozilla also started pushing Firefox 3.6 more proactively to users, while continuing impressive work on the latest development builds.


This was a comparatively quiet week for Google Chrome. The most significant development was Google deciding to do away with the unique client ID present in all installations of the browser. In the future, Chrome will be getting rid of the unique identifier after the first automatic update check.

Although there weren’t a lot of new stuff from Google, there were plenty of new extensions. If you are a cricket fan, go ahead and install the IPL on YouTube extension for Chrome to get lives scores, commentary and match reminders.


OperaOpera Software had a fairly dramatic week thanks to all the hoopla about the malformed Content-Length header security issue. The initial proof of concept code turned out to be non-exploitable. However, a modified scenario presented by Secunia was (at least theoretically) revealed to be a security risk.

However, things were not all gloomy for Opera. Carakan JavaScript engine continued its impressive showing – it proved itself to be not only the fastest but also the best behaved.

Meanwhile, Opera Software kept churning out releases for various platforms. UNIX and MAC users received new 10.50 snapshots while Windows users got a chance to try out a 10.51 build. Opera Mini 5 beta for Android was also released this week.


Apple pushed through as many as 16 security updates for Safari, ahead of the Pwn2Own hacking contest.

Does Your Browser Behave? Find Out With Sputnik JavaScript Conformance Test Suite

You are probably familiar with the Acid3 test, which checks how well certain selected aspects of web standards (especially those related to the Document Object Model and JavaScript) are implemented by a browser. Now, the Chromium development team has released a similar benchmarking utility which can check how well a browser’s JavaScript engine behaves. The test runner is based on the Sputnik JavaScript conformance test suite which was launched last year.

Sputnik comprises of more than 5000 tests and touches all aspects of the JavaScript language defined in the third edition of the ECMA-262 specification. The results of the test are quite interesting. As expected, none of the browsers managed a perfect score. Opera 10.50 was the best performer with 78 failures, while Internet Explorer 8 was the worst performer with 463 failures. Safari 4, Chrome 4 and Firefox 3.6 recorded 159, 218 and 259 failures respectively.


Sputnik test itself is still in its infancy and will undoubtedly continue to evolve and mature with time. However, a standard test suite like this will definitely help browser manufacturers discover bugs and inconsistencies. Let us hope that browser manufacturers like Microsoft and Mozilla will take this test seriously and help in the evolution of a truly Open Web.