Opera launches ‘more social’ mobile web browser

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Opera doesn’t really feature in the web browser landscape. Its mobile browser Opera Mini, on the other hand, is among the most popular. Hardly surprising then, that it should trumpet the release of a new iteration of the latter called Opera Mini Next.

The new browser reportedly leverages social through a new feature called the Smart Page. According to Opera, the Smart Page “will take its position alongside Opera’s famous Speed Dial shortcuts and give feature phones smarter access to social networks, the latest news and more”.

The company says that the feature will be rolled out to all of its feature phone browsers later this year.

Smart Page is designed specifically for feature phone users and Opera claims that by having paths to Facebook and Twitter in the home screen of Opera Mini Next, “feature phone users get even closer to the social web of their lives and a smarter online experience”.

Opera says its decision to keep producing software for feature phones is a numbers game:

“When people think of using social networks on the go, they often imagine a smartphone with the latest apps installed. At Opera, we know that’s not the way a majority of mobile phone owners access their social networks,” says Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software. “That’s why we’ve made ‘ordinary’ phones smarter, by making it easier to use the most popular social networks right in the first screen of Opera Mini for feature phones. Just because you’re on a more basic phone, doesn’t mean you can’t be an active social networker.”

According to stats from late last year Opera Mini is the world’s leading mobile browser 22.49% of global market share.

The rise of smartphones, and Android in particular, has eaten into Opera Mini’s market share. Android’s native browser had around 20.41% of global market share in late 2011, up from 12% in November 2010.

In a bid to bolster its smartphone offering, Opera has launched Opera Mobile 12 for Android and Symbian smartphone owners.

The new features on Opera Mobile 12 reportedly include:

  • WebGL on Android phones, for all things 3D and web. With WebGL on mobile, it’ll be even easier to make games cross platform and to distribute them. “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.

  • Ragnarök, Opera’s HTML5 parser support, meaning better web apps and increased compatibility with websites. More HTML5 means more advanced web functionality.
  • Support for camera use in the browser.
  • More possibilities for customizing the Speed Dial of Opera Mobile, including entering as many Speed Dial entries as you like.
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