Opera releases browsers for smartphones, tablets

Opera Mini and Mobile versions for Android have been upgraded with better performance, and a tablet UI

Opera Software has released updated versions of its Mini and Mobile smartphone browsers, and adapted the browsers' interface for tablets, the Norwegian company said on Tuesday.

New features include a share button, which allows users to post messages on Twitter and Facebook. The updates feature improved scrolling and panning performance, and zooming has also been improved: it now makes use of pinch-to-zoom on all devices that support it.

In the tablet versions, the navigation buttons are at the top of the screen, rather than at the bottom as in the smartphone versions, Opera said.

The Opera Mini 6 browser is available for phones that can run J2ME Java applets and for smartphones running the Android, BlackBerry and Symbian S60 operating systems.

Opera Mobile 11 supports HTML5 and is available for smartphones running Android and Symbian. Experimental versions are also available for devices running MeeGo and Maemo, as is one for tablets running Windows 7, according to Opera.

Opera Mini uses a proxy server to compress and reformat Web pages before they are transmitted to the phone. Using compression speeds up downloads and means subscribers without unlimited data contracts can save money. Opera Mobile, on the other hand, works like a traditional browser, without using a proxy server.

Opera didn't release versions of the browsers for Apple's iPhone and iPad on Tuesday, but owners of those two devices should stay tuned, an Opera spokeswoman said via e-mail.

Opera is hoping to get its browser in other devices too. On Monday, the company announced at the IP&TV World Forum in London that it will unveil a new version of its Opera for Devices SDK 3.0, which is its embeddable browser engine for TVs.

The new version comes with a totally re-designed rendering engine to improve performance. There is also improved HTML5 compliance, and HTML5 video integrated from day one on some platforms, Opera said.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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