WEB BROWSER OUTFIT Opera is set to release versions of Opera Mini for all major smartphone operating systems and Apple's Ipad.
Opera is not satisfied with its claimed 105 million user base, with the firm revealing that its Opera Mini update to be launched at next week's Mobile World Congress (MWC) will be available on Android, IOS, J2ME, Blackberry and Symbian. Opera has always maintained broad support for smartphone operating systems, however its decision and more importantly, approval by Apple, to put Opera Mini on the Ipad App Store could be a big win for it.
Aside from Opera's smartphone oriented Opera Mini browser, the firm also pledged to announce updates to the more heavyweight Opera Mobile with updates to Android and Symbian versions.
Opera's CEO Lars Boilesen touted the green credentials of Opera Mini saying, "It's why we make it light, so you don't have to recharge your battery every few hours. It's why Opera Mini and Opera Mobile can help operators reduce the bandwidth that clogs their networks."
Well, networks have bandwidth and it's traffic that soaks it up and clogs mobile phone networks, but we think we get what he means.
Opera Mini will be the first web browser from an established developer to appear on the Ipad, aside from Apple's own built-in Safari. Last year Skyfire hit the headlines by releasing a web browser that supports Adobe's Flash software, however it is not expected Opera will do anything as radical with its browser.
Opera will have to introduce another killer feature in Opera Mini if it is to differentiate itself from the pre-installed browsers found on smartphone operating systems. Both Opera and Mozilla have been suffering in the mobile market with IOS shipping with Safari, Android with Chrome and Microsoft using a variant of Internet Explorer in Windows Phone 7.
Next week's MWC looks set to be vital for application developers such as Opera to maintain relevance in the growing smartphone and tablet markets. µ