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Opera Updates Mobile Browser

Opera Mobile 9.7 has faster rendering, offers support for widgets, and can compress pages by up to 80% before being delivered to the handset.
Opera Software has updated its high-end mobile browser, and the Opera Mobile 9.7 beta adds a host of improvements.

Opera Mobile uses server-side compression to deliver Web pages to handsets, and this is supposed to make it easier for users to browse regardless of the hardware or connection strength. The 9.7 version adds support for Opera Turbo, which compresses traffic up to 80% while offering support for Web technologies like Ajax and Flash.

The new version also places a stronger emphasis on widgets that can give the user one-touch access to things like stock information. Unlike previous versions, the widgets manager is separated from the browser in order to provide a smoother experience, Opera said.

The 9.7 beta is available now for Windows Mobile devices, and users of touch-screen devices like the Touch Diamond can pan, scan, and zoom with their fingers.

"There are other mobile browsers on the market that claim to be faster and more Web site-compatible on Windows-based phones, but I challenge users to take Opera Mobile for a test drive and discover a new standard for speed and compatibility," Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner said in a statement.

Opera is dominant in the mobile browsing space, as its Opera Mini version can be downloaded to nearly any Internet-capable device. But the company is facing stiff competition from on-deck browsers like Apple's mobile Safari, as well as other third-party browsers.

Mozilla is trying to replicate the success it had on the desktop with its Fennec mobile browser, which will be compatible with extensions that can block ads. Startup Skyfire recently pushed out a release version of its mobile browser, and it can access and interact with sites that have heavy Flash, Ajax, Silverlight, and other rich Web technologies.


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