Opera Software on Thursday announced that it will offer its Opera Mobile browser to Google's Android platform by November.
Opera's full-featured Opera Mobile browser is already available for the Symbian and Windows Mobile platforms. Though Opera Mini can be downloaded from the Android Market to most any Android device, Opera is stepping up its efforts to provide a better browsing experience to Android.
The key difference between Opera Mini and Opera Mobile is that Opera Mini uses server-side proxies to compress and deliver web sites to mobile handsets. The data compression helps to reduce mobile data requirements and saves both customers and mobile network operators money.
Opera Mobile, on the other hand, is a full, device-side browser that does all the heavy lifting on the handset and not on remote servers.
According to Opera, Opera Mobile for Android will bring two major features to the browser. First is hardware acceleration. With hardware acceleration baked into Opera Mobile, the browser should perform much faster. Opera claims, "Hardware acceleration allows Opera Mobile to run at lightning speed. Navigating a page will be faster than ever, and the improvements to the UI will be momentous."
Opera Mobile will also offer for the first time pinch-to-zoom. Pinch-to-zoom has become a must-have feature for smartphones, as it makes interacting with web-based content easier and more manageable. Pinch-to-zoom is offered in the native Android browser, as well as the iOS and BB6 browsers.
Opera has a tough road ahead if it is interested in wide-spread Android adoption, however. The stock Android browser is already very good, and there are a number of alternatives available in the Android Market. What's to convince the common Android user to switch? Perhaps tie-ins with Opera's desktop browser, as well as its desktop-phone syncing services.
Opera Mobile for Android will be available from m.opera.com and the Android Market within the next 30 days. Opera says it will be compatible with all Android devices.
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