Tag Archives | Opera

Opera 11.50 Beta’s Speed Dial Gets Widgety

Opera Next–the auto-updating test edition of the next major version of the Norwegian Web browser–is out in a new version, 11.50. It has a clever addition to Speed Dial, the page of thumbnail links to favorite sites which has been widely imitated since Opera invented it: extensions. Rather than just depicting shrunken versions of sites you’ve saved, Speed Dial can now include widgety little applications, such as the weather one in the lower left-hand corner of the screen above.

Like most browser innovations, Speed Dial extensions will only be interesting if they gets embraced by developers, who’ll need to build them in large quantities. And it’ll be be most interesting if it turns into a standard, so that users of all browsers get to enjoy it, too. But if you like checking out nifty new Web concepts, it’s worth a peek right now. As is Opera in general–every time I revisit this browser, I wonder why it’s not more popular. (According to Google Analytics, only one percent of you use it to visit Technologizer.)


Is the Web Going Away? Or is It Going All Over the Place?

When Wired hyperbolically declared that “The Web is Dead,” it didn’t challenge my worldview but rather surfaced what I knew subconsciously. The browser is not always (and increasingly less so) the best window to the Internet — especially on mobile gadgets. For years on my iPhone — and now on my Droid – I’ve foregone digging around in a tiny browser in favor of burrowing straight to what I want through an app – the New York Times, Facebook, The Weather Channel…

At this week’s Web 2.0 conference in New York, John Gruber of blog Daring Fireball tried to illustrate app supremacy by showing the absurdity of an iPad screen with only the Safari Web browser icon.

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Skyfire Eyes the iPhone

Mobile browser maker Skyfire is congratulating rival Opera for the arrival of Opera Mini on the iPhone App Store–and saying that it wants to put its browser on the iPhone (and, it sounds like, the iPad). Which is interesting not only because it’s a neat product, but because it could put Flash sites on the iPhone without putting Flash on the iPhone–like Mini, Skyfire caches and compresses sites on the server, but it goes further by transmitting everything–including Flash video, audio, and interactivity–to the phone.

Wonder how Apple (not to mention Adobe) would feel about that?


Opera Mini for iPhone, Finally!

Three weeks ago, Opera submitted the iPhone version of its Opera Mini browser to Apple for approval, and I cheerfully predicted it would show up on the App Store within a couple of weeks. I was off by one week: Mini is now available as a free download.

I figured the app would make it because…well, I couldn’t think of a reason why it wouldn’t. Apple isn’t involved in epic battle with Opera (unlike, say, Google). It can be pretty confident that Safari will remain by far the iPhone’s dominant browser even if Opera Mini does quite well. And hey, making trouble for browser companies that wish to run on your operating system is demonstrably bad juju.

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Opera Submits Opera Mini to the App Store. Your Move, Apple

Norwegian browser company Opera Software wants to be the second company to release a browser for the iPhone–after Apple, of course. And so it’s announcing today that it’s submitted Opera Mini to Apple for App Store approval. Opera says that it considered charging for the app, but has decided to give it away.

The company touts its server-side compression technology as making Opera Mini up to six times faster than Apple’s Mobile Safari. When I tried Mini on the iPhone last week at the South by Southwest conference, I didn’t see that speed boost–but an Opera representative recently told me that Mini was misconfigured at SxSW. And I was impressed with the browser in other ways.

Will Apple approve Mini? Assuming that it follows the iPhone developer agreement and doesn’t involve security risks, I think it would be a horrible mistake if it didn’t. Safari is going to be the iPhone’s dominant browser no matter what, and spiking Mini would resurrect Google Voice-like concerns that Apple is unwilling to permit competitors to build iPhone apps that rational people might prefer to Apple’s own wares.

It’ll be good for iPhone owners, Opera, Apple, and the American way if Apple approves Mini without delay. And I’m in an optimistic mood. So I’m hereby predicting that it’ll show up on the App Store within the next couple of weeks.


First Impressions: Opera Mini on the iPhone

Here at South by Southwest Interactive, I finally got a little hands-on time with Opera Mini for the iPhone, which Opera started showing off last month at the Mobile World Congress Show in Barcelona.  The Norwegian browser company told me that it’s still putting the finishing touches on it and plans to submit it to the iPhone App Store real soon now.

On every platform it runs on, Opera Mini’s signature feature is that it’s speedy, thanks to server-side compression that crunches Web pages down before they get sent to the browser. In my extremely informal experiments here at SXSW, Mini didn’t feel particularly zippy. (Actually, it loaded the New York Times’ home page more slowly than Mobile Safari did.) But it may not have been a real-world test of how it’ll perform when Apple approves it (please!) and it shows up on the App Store: An Opera representative told me that the compression is still going on via servers in far-away Norway, which would tend to bog things down.

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Opera Mini 5 Beta for Android

Opera has released a beta of its Opera Mini 5 browser for Google’s Android OS. Mini’s signature feature is the way it caches and compresses Web pages on the server side so they’re relatively snappy on a phone even via a sluggish wireless connection. As its name suggests, Mini started out as a pretty basic browser, but version 5 is full-featured for a phone browsser: It’s got tabs, a password manager, and Opera’s Speed Dial feature that provides one-click access to favorite sites.

In my brief time with Mini 5 so far on a Verizon Droid, it felt fast but not strikingly faster than the standard Android browser (an experience which PCMag.com’s Sean Ludwig also encountered). Formatting is never as faithful as in the stock browser, and some of the sites I visited with the beta looked just plain wonky. But on the plus side, Mini let me get into one Web site–the back-end part of WordPress.com I use to update Technologizer–which I haven’t been able to access with the bundled Android browser.

Worth a look if you’re a browser buff with an Android phone (and I’m glad that Android users have the option of choosing Mini–here’s hoping that iPhone owners get to choose, too).