Feature Article

March 05, 2013

Opera Web Browser for Android Launches in Beta Version

Opera Software ASA is a Norwegian software company. Primarily, it is known for its Opera suite of Web browsers. They boast over 300 million users globally. The company has its headquarters in Oslo, Norway. It was founded in 1995 and was created to continue what was originally a research project at Telenor, Norwegian largest telecommunications company.

Today, Opera announced that it is launching a beta version of the Opera browser for Android. This is a completely redesigned version of the Opera browser. According to a statement, “it is the result of a passion for design combined with 17 years’ worth of know-how and innovation.”

Opera Web browser for Android is built on the WebKit rendering engine. WebKit is layout engine software designed to allow Web browsers to render Web pages. It powers the Apple Safari and Google Chrome browsers. In February, Opera announced that it dropped its own Presto engine in favor of WebKit.

Being a Web browser company, it’s not surprising to find out that Opera believes that the Web browser is one of the most important apps in your Android phone, as it's your all-access card to the Web. Opera has rebuilt the entire browser to ensure you can make the most of your Web time. Opera for Android was designed to provide a full, native browsing experience for your Android phone.

Opera’s executive vice president of product development, Rikard Gillemry said, "There are countless hours that have gone into making this completely new, completely re-thought Opera for Android. I dare say that many smartphone users spend much more time using their web browser than any other app on their phones. That's why we have made our newest mobile phone browser more elegant and more beautiful than ever, while still packing so much functionality into it. Go ahead take the Opera beta out for a spin on your Android phone and see for yourself."

Some of the new or improved features for Opera Web browser for Android are;

  • New look: Opera for Android sports a completely new user interface that is more elegant and built to the native specifications of the Android platform.
  • Discover feature: This provides a new way of discovering content on the Web. From the Discover panel of the startup screen, you can read a selection of popular articles and dig deeper into your interests, such as sports, technology, lifestyle or news. Opera has selected relevant global and regional sources, so let Opera do the surfing for you.
  • New, revamped Speed Dial: Opera's engineers discovered that users like to have links readily available in the Speed Dial, yet also wanted the flexibility of a bookmark folder. With the new Speed Dial, the bookmarks are fused together with the Speed Dial entries to provide a new experience. It's easier to group, organize and rename Speed Dial entries or gather them in folders — all with the touch of your thumb.
  • Off-Road mode: Opera for Android integrates the compression technology from Opera Mini, for faster browsing when conditions are rough. Bad network or costly roaming while traveling? Just switch to Off-Road mode and keep on surfing.
  • Combined search and address bar: Opera has combined the search and URL field for a more elegant UI and more intuitive input.
  • Tabbed browsing: The elegant tabbed browsing makes it easier than ever to browse, open and sort all your open browser windows on your phone. It even offers private browsing, just like the Opera desktop browser.
  • History: With the easily accessible history mode, return to that page you saw earlier today fast — just swipe your finger to the right to access the content on the left on your home screen.
  • Save for later: This feature lets the user download a complete webpage and read it later while offline. It's perfect for reading long articles on flights without Wi-Fi or just when you don't want to connect to the Internet.

Opera expects to release the final version sometime during the second quarter. There is talk that Opera may also release its iOS browser in about a month’s time.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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