INTERNET BROWSER DEVELOPER Opera has announced a release of its web browser catering especially for Android tablets.
The firm has redesigned Opera 18 to accommodate larger tablet screens, rather than simply scaling up the smartphone screen. Heavily customised from Chromium 31, the new Opera 18 is not a scaling down of the desktop version either.
"We poured a great deal of thought into the Opera for Android tablet version," said Opera Software SVP for Mobile Consumer Browsers Johan Schön.
"The size of devices and mindset of users make the tablet very different from its smaller cousin, the smartphone, and we have to respect that. In Opera 18 for Android, we have spent hours and hours tweaking, and fiddling with the placement of, even the most minute detail, just to get that top tablet feel."
The new browser has been designed around most used features being at natural finger resting places on tablet devices. Other features include "discover", offering a customised news feed based around user interests, and an "off-road" mode, formerly referred to as "turbo", which is now being marketed as a way of browsing more efficiently in low bandwidth areas such as crowded branches of Starbucks and when roaming to keep costs down through compression of webpage data.
The Speed Dial function is also available, allowing users to bookmark nine favourites on their new tab page for easy access.
A quick hands-on test in the office has revealed that the primary innovation is, however, speed. In a web surfing speed test, we found that Opera 18 was able to display webpages up to second faster than Chrome, and that alone is worth anyone's attention. µ