Opera has added support for widgets to the latest beta release of its Mobile 9.5 browser. The release marks the second Opera Mobile 9.5 beta for Windows Mobile and the first-ever beta for UIQ-based phones, it announced on Monday.
Opera Widgets are small, free programs that add extra functionality to the browser. For example, Opera's widgets can enable one-click access to Web content.
Several Opera Widgets are now pre-installed in the beta, including ones for Twitter, shopping lists and weather reports. Additionally, Opera offers more downloadable widgets on its web site.
Operator T-Mobile has already taken Opera Mobile with Widgets to heart, and they will become available by the end of the year to subscribers of its Internet mobile service, called web'n'walk.
Opera is also hoping to pique developers' interest in creating gadgets by launching a contest for them to create widgets that can be used on mobile phones as well as on Windows or Apple computers.
Entries will be judged on coding quality, the widget's usefulness across mobiles and desktops and if it keeps users engaged. The winner will get US$5,000.
Besides support for widgets, Opera said the new test version loads Web pages faster, Opera said.
Both the Mobile 9.5 beta with Opera Widgets (http://www.opera.com/products/mobile/) and the Widgets software development kit (http://www.opera.com/b2b/solutions/widgets/) can be downloaded from downloaded from Opera's Web page.
There is no date for a final version yet. The new browser beta doesn't come with an expiry date, according to Julie Sajnani, Opera spokeswoman.