Last month Opera announced it was switching to from its own rendering engine to a Webkit based browser engine and today it has released the first beta of their Android browser. Opera Browser for Android is a new webkit based browser that has tabbed browsing, offline mode and an online compression mode called Off-Road that compresses the content on Opera’s server before sending it down to the browser.
The browser is designed for Android phone devices (2.3 and up) and installed ok on my Galaxy Note and Nexus 7 but it won’t install on tablet sized Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1
Overall the browser seemed to work well, it renders the pages the same as Chrome which is what you would expect as it also uses Webkit.
You can get the app from Google Play
The free must-have app for your phone! Find friends – discover personalized news – download movies and music – search better. Do more online using less data, with the Opera browser. It’s our best all-in-one app for Android.
– Fast and easy to use: Our fastest browser for Android loads webpages almost instantly, in the right size and format for your phone.
– Keep your connection: Browse at high speed outside 3G coverage with Off-Road Mode.
– News for you: Find out what’s happening with the Discover feature, your personal news feed.
– Instant favorites: Set your top sites and bookmarks in the Speed Dial – open them with one click!
– Music, movies and more: Start, stop, resume, save and rename the media files you keep on your phone with our download manager.
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.