Today Opera Software announced the latest build of its mobile browser. Opera Mobile 9.7's biggest improvements include compatibility with Opera's Turbo servers as well as Flash Lite and Google Gears.Opera first announced Turbo for its desktop browser back in February. I was able to see some demonstrations of its speedy, Web-page-loading prowess at Mobile World Congress. It was definitely fast. Turbo for the desktop works by compressing Web sites with its own servers and then shooting out the compressed version to browsers. With a smaller digital footprint, the compressed Web sites are able to travel through the Internet to end users faster.
Now, Opera has extended Turbo's speed-enhancing powers to its mobile browser. Opera Mobile 9.7 features Opera Turbo, as well as the Presto 2.2 rendering engine. These, combined with Flash Lite and Ajax support, make Opera Mobile a very powerful mobile browser, indeed.
Opera spokesperson Ted Miller said in an email, "Turbo is something that once deployed, end-users can switch on or switch off just like the desktop version. It doesn't take up any extra room or involve any more or less integration to work."
I am glad to see Opera bringing support for Google Gears to the mobile side of things. This means smartphone users will be able to interact more with some of their Google services when network connections aren't available (such as when stuck on a plane to that trade show).
A beta version of Opera Mobile 9.7 will be made available to consumers some time later this spring. Miller said, "If CTIA goes well, hopefully we'll have some interest from our current Windows Mobile partners and attract carrier and OEM customers as well. Timetable for deployment on devices is totally up in the air depending what deals we can get. For a consumer-download beta version to try on your Windows Mobile phone, that will likely be a few weeks (maybe end of the month, maybe early May)."
Until then, we can only drool and think about how fast it will be.