Opera switching from developing its own web engine to use WebKit

Opera switching from developing its own web engine to use WebKit

Opera Browser

Back at CES I chatted with Opera about them bringing Opera to the TV with their app store and today Opera have announced they are migrating to WebKit away from their own rendering engine. Opera will be using the Chromium project saying that “The WebKit engine is already very good, and we aim to take part in making it even better. It supports the standards we care about, and it has the performance we need,” says CTO of Opera Software, Håkon Wium Lie.

Opera joins Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari browser using WebKit while Microsoft stick with its Trident engine. Opera will be previewing its new browser for Android at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later month as its focusing more on mobile devices.

I have to say I haven’t used Opera browser in years and I am not sure a WebKit based version would make me switch but it’s nice to have the choice.

Press Release:

Oslo, Norway — February 13, 2013 — Opera Software today announced reaching the milestone of 300 million monthly users across all its browser products on phones, tablets, TVs and computers.

“300 million marks the first lap, but the race goes on,” says Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software. “On the final stretch up to 300 million users, we have experienced the fastest acceleration in user growth we have ever seen. Now, we are shifting into the next gear to claim a bigger piece of the pie in the smartphone market.”

To provide a leading browser on Android and iOS, this year Opera will make a gradual transition to the WebKit engine, as well as Chromium, for most of its upcoming versions of browsers for smartphones and computers.

“The WebKit engine is already very good, and we aim to take part in making it even better. It supports the standards we care about, and it has the performance we need,” says CTO of Opera Software, Håkon Wium Lie. “It makes more sense to have our experts working with the open source communities to further improve WebKit and Chromium, rather than developing our own rendering engine further. Opera will contribute to the WebKit and Chromium projects, and we have already submitted our first set of patches: to improve multi-column layout.”

The first look at what Opera is bringing to the smartphone game as a result of this switch will be shown at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this month, with a preview of its upcoming browser for Android.

“Opera is also experimenting with WebKit in several research and development projects, and many of you got a peek of one of them, codenamed ‘ICE’, last month. As a leading innovator in browsers, we are very excited that ICE received such great buzz. We will provide more information about ICE and other exciting R&D projects in the future, but as we are also really proud of our new browser on Android and our Opera Web Pass operator offering, those products will be the main focus at MWC,” says Wium Lie. “The shift to WebKit means more of our resources can be dedicated to developing new features and the user-friendly solutions that can be expected from a company that invented so many of the features that are today being used by everyone in the browser industry.”

“300 million is a bonanza big number, and we are certain this move will help us grow even more – and make our products even better,” says Boilesen. “Opera is for people who appreciate choice, and we are going to make it even easier to choose Opera in the future.”

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