Aug 6th, 2009

jonvonOver a year ago, Android fans saw the debut of Opera Mini for Android. This past January we let you know the company launched Opera Mini version 4.2 to the Android Market. But I assume the existence of an alternative browser in Android Market has largely fallen on deaf ears – the Web-kit based default browser provided by Google is already quite capable.

But Opera isn’t going out easily. According to CEO Jon von Tetzchner, the company is working on producing a full Opera Mobile version for Android, something that exists for Windows Mobile and Symbian only as of now. The “mini” version of Opera passes web data through Opera’s servers and re-renders the pages for mobile optimized viewing whereas the complete version would display the full HTML display.

Can Opera compete and/or does anyone care? I definitely think so. Mobile web browsing is far from perfect and we’ve got a LONG way to go in the field. There is a TON of room for innovation and Opera is in a position to make an impact. While Google’s “Chrome Lite” comes prepackaged with Google Experience Android phones, I assume that those without the Google branding are free to choose a competing default browser. Perhaps Opera can build some relationships and sign some contracts to become the default browser on a number of handsets?

As of now the details and timeline for the project are unknown – heck, there is no guarantee an actual full Opera for Android will ever launch, we just know it is being worked on. But the more minds focused on perfecting mobile web browsing the better, if you ask me.