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March 5, 2013

Opera releases first mobile browser based on Webkit-engine

Opera today released the first beta version of its Webkit-engine based mobile browser for Android. The browser has a new look, new features and now offers HTML5 support.

The new version of Opera is special because it uses the Webkit-engine. After having used its own rendering engine, Opera Presto, Opera has now dropped this for the Webkit-engine which is also used by Apple and Google for their own browsers. The browser is now available for download in the Google Play Store and is compatible with Android versions 2.3 and higher.

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With the transition Opera hopes to have more time and manpower for the implementation of new features. Developing its own rendering engine takes a lot of time. The transition from Opera to Webkit leaves three “large” render engines on the scene: Webkit from Chrome, Chromium, Safari and Opera, Firefox’s Gecko, and Trident for Internet Explorer. Many mobile browsers, among others iOS, Android and BlackBerry 10 are also based on Webkit. Opera will eventually fully switch to Webkit, but the Opera versions for desktop and phones that have been released so far, are still based on Presto.

New options in the Webkit version include the ‘discoverable’ feature ‘. This gives the user several popular articles presented on topics in which the user has expressed interest. With the ‘Off-road mode’ web pages get compressed to save data when the connection is bad or when data roaming is used. The ‘save for later’ feature lets a user save a Web page, so that it can be viewed at a later time.

The final version of the browser should be available in the second quarter of 2013 chief executive Lars Boilesen told CNET earlier. An iOS version is also being developed but no release date has been given for this version. The desktop version based on the Webkit-engine has been scheduled for the second half of 2013.

 

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I am a 33 year old IT engineer, originally from Belgium but living in Scotland. Technology has been my passion since school and I am always reading up or playing about with tech both in my job and at home. I have been married to my lovely Sharon for just under a year and we are expecting our first baby in June.