Opera Ready to Premier Major Revision to Smartphone Browser

Mobile World Congress setting for the premier of the Opera Mobile 9.5, a Web browser that promises to deliver a desktop-like browsing experience to devices running on a number of different mobile platforms.
At next week's Mobile (formally 3GSM World Congress), Opera Software is planning the world premier of Opera Mobile 9.5—the latest version of its Web browser for PDAs, smartphones and advanced feature phones. This will eventually be followed by the roll out of a public beta.

The update is supposed to offer a number of improvements to make the mobile browsing experience closer to that of the desktop than ever before, Opera says. There's now iPhone-like zooming and panning in addition to productivity tools like the ability to save pages for offline browsing, Web address auto complete, and a password manager, for example.

It rendering engine, called Presto, has been modified to accelerate the handling of Web pages that rely heavily on languages like JavaScript and Ajax. This should also make Opera Mobile more responsive when loading sites.

Opera Widgets, mini applications that allow content to be accessed easily from the device idle screen, are included in the new edition as well. There's also Flash Lite 3 support for accessing content on sites like YouTube that rely heavily on Flash-based video and animations

Opera plans to make Opera Mobile 9.5 available for a wide range of mobile platforms, including Symbian, Windows Mobile and Linux; as a standalone browser; and in a software developer kit.

For more on Opera Mobile 9.5, see here. You can also watch a video that walks you through the browser's features.

Opera Mobile 9.5 isn't the only new wireless browser in the news lately.

Mozilla made screen shots of the an early version of the upcoming mobile edition of Firefox available on its wiki recently. There you'll also find descriptions of the various features outlined in the mockup images.

Jus before that, a startup called Skyfire introduced its first product, an eponymous Web browser for Windows Mobile (and later for other mobile platforms) at the DEMO 08 conference. Skyfire received a positive reception, as it appears to deliver an even more accurate desktop-like browsing experience to mobile devices than even Apple's Safari browser does for the iPhone.

How? Through wide support for all of today's most important Web standards, including dynamic Flash, advanced Ajax, and Java and a proxy server, which does all the hard work before sending a Web page onto a smartphone or PDA.

This article was first published on PDAStreet.com.

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