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2/5/2008
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Opera Upgrades Mobile Web Browser

Opera Mobile 9.5 uses Opera's zoom technology to enlarge content on a Web page.

Opera Software on Tuesday unveiled the latest version of its mobile Web browser for commercial use; the browser includes enhancements like zooming, panning, and Flash support.

Opera Mobile 9.5 uses Opera's zoom technology to enlarge content on a Web page, and pages can be saved for offline browsing when there isn't an Internet connection available. The new version also uses Opera's Presto rendering engine to speed up the loading of pages. Opera said it tweaked the engine to improve performance by accelerating the handling of Web pages, even those coded using JavaScript and Ajax.

Additionally, version 9.5 supports widgets and Flash for accessing popular social networks, such as Facebook and MySpace. Equipment makers and wireless carriers have the option to include Flash Lite 3 with Opera Mobile, giving their customers the ability to watch YouTube videos, for example, according to Opera.

Widgets are mini applications that sit on a mobile device's home screen and can be accessed with a few clicks. Opera offers the capability to add widgets in the new version. The company's goal is to provide users with a desktop-like experience on small mobile device screens.

Opera Mobile has been included in more than 100 million phones manufactured by HTC, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and others, the company said. Software platform maker UIQ also collaborated with phone makers to introduce Opera Mobile 9.5 on future mobile phones.

The latest version is compatible with mobile phones running the Symbian, Windows Mobile, and Linux platforms. It will be available as a standalone browser and as a software development kit.

Opera didn't provide pricing, but as a comparison point, it charges $24 for earlier versions of the browser.

For those who don't want to shell out money, Opera offers a free full-featured mobile browser called the Opera Mini. In November, the company rolled out version 4 of the Opera Mini, which can be viewed in desktop mode, meaning Web pages are displayed exactly as they appear on a PC or laptop. Users also can access the content they want by using the zoom feature or select Small Screen Rendering to avoid horizontal scrolling on a page.

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