Opera is migrating away from the Presto engine in favor of WebKit, the same web rendering machine deployed by the likes of Chrome and Safari. Today, a first taste of the new Opera browser is available for all in the form of a beta up for grabs on Google Play.
Aside from utilizing the new rendering engine for a quicker, more efficient browsing experience, the latest version of Opera introduces some other goodies. The speed dial page has been improved, the browser now features HTML5 support, and there is a new “off-road” mode that aims to cut back on data usage.
While the beta is free and available to all, it is still a beta, which means some bugs may be encountered. A final release date has not been assigned.
Opera for Android launched in beta
Oslo, Norway – March 5, 2013
Opera browser for Android is now out in a beta version, providing mobile web navigation that is sleeker and easier to use than ever. The completely redesigned Opera for Android is the result of a passion for design combined with 17 years’ worth of know-how and innovation.
The web browser is one of the most important apps in your Android phone, as it’s your all-access card to the web. To make sure Android mobile users get the best experience available, Opera has rebuilt the entire browser to ensure you can make the most of your web time. Opera for Android provides a full, native browsing experience for your Android phone.
The beta version launched today, the first iteration of the new generation of Opera browsers for smartphones, will give developers and first-movers in the mobile-app world access to Opera’s latest offering for Android users.
Opera, renowned for innovation, has built on its most loved features to become even better:
- New look: Opera for Android sports a completely new user interface that is more elegant and built to the native specifications of the Android platform.
- Discover feature: This provides a new way of discovering content on the web. From the Discover panel of the startup screen, you can read a selection of popular articles and dig deeper into your interests, such as sports, technology, lifestyle or news. Opera has selected relevant global and regional sources, so let Opera do the surfing for you.
- New, revamped Speed Dial: Opera’s engineers discovered that users like to have links readily available in the Speed Dial, yet also wanted the flexibility of a bookmark folder. With the new Speed Dial, the bookmarks are fused together with the Speed Dial entries to provide a new experience. It’s easier to group, organize and rename Speed Dial entries or gather them in folders — all with the touch of your thumb.
- Off-Road mode: Opera for Android integrates the compression technology from Opera Mini, for faster browsing when conditions are rough. Bad network or costly roaming while traveling? Just switch to Off-Road mode and keep on surfing.
- Combined search and address bar: Opera has combined the search and URL field for a more elegant UI and more intuitive input.
- Tabbed browsing: The elegant tabbed browsing makes it easier than ever to browse, open and sort all your open browser windows on your phone. It even offers private browsing, just like the Opera desktop browser.
- History: With the easily accessible history mode, return to that page you saw earlier today fast — just swipe your finger to the right to access the content on the left on your home screen.
- Save for later: This feature lets the user download a complete webpage and read it later while offline. It’s perfect for reading long articles on flights without Wi-Fi or just when you don’t want to connect to the internet.
“There are countless hours that have gone into making this completely new, completely re-thought Opera for Android,” says Opera Software EVP of product development Rikard Gillemyr. “I dare say that many smartphone users spend much more time using their web browser than any other app on their phones. That’s why we have made our newest mobile phone browser more elegant and more beautiful than ever, while still packing so much functionality into it. Go ahead — take the Opera beta out for a spin on your Android phone and see for yourself.”
To try out the new browser, download the Opera browser for Android beta from Google Play or visit www.opera.com on your mobile phone. Opera supports Android devices with phone-sized screens from version 2.3 and up.