The company said several Virgin Mobile phones will have the Opera Mini browser preloaded, and other devices will be able to download it from Virgin's download storefront. The browser has more than 20 million users worldwide, and it uses server-side compression to boost download speeds. The deal marks the first agreement Opera has scored with a U.S. carrier.
While Virgin Mobile has nowhere near the number of subscribers as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon Wireless, the prepaid service is growing at a rapid pace. The inclusion of Opera Mini also could help the adoption rate of Virgin Mobile's 3G phones.
Opera also is looking to expand its presence into new markets, and it will be bringing its browser to Ford trucks and vans. The browser will be preloaded on the Ford Work Solutions in-dash computer, which features a 6.5-inch, high-resolution touch screen and a cellular broadband connection. The in-car system also has a CD slot, Bluetooth, a wireless keyboard and mouse, and a battery-powered printer.
"Opera's vision has always been about giving people access to the full Web anytime, anywhere," said Rod Hamlin, senior VP for Opera, in a statement. "No example showcases this better than delivering a fast, feature-rich Web browser to a vehicle. This solution will allow Ford truck and van owners to maintain a virtual work environment with access to all of the important files, information, and applications they need on a daily basis."
Low-risk, low-cost technologies help IT ensure that staffers on the road spend more time on work and less on workarounds. An InformationWeek report, "Five Ways To Arm Your Remote Warriors," offers tips on how to deliver new levels of connectivity, security, and happiness to your traveling contingent (registration required).