Mike Becky

Tag Archive for ‘Opera’

Opera Browser Sold to a Chinese Consortium for $600 Million ➝

I was a huge fan of Opera in the mid-2000s, but I probably haven’t touched the browser in over five years. I’m not surprised they had to sell — the writing’s been on the wall for a while. There just isn’t much room for them when Chrome and Firefox make up nearly 90% of the market.

A New Browser for Our Friends ➝

Vivaldi is a new web browser from Jon von Tetzchner, former CEO of Opera. It’s built on the Chromium rendering engine and is targeted at power users, with Quick Commands, Speed Dials, and Tab Stacks being a few of its landmark features.

I’ve spent a little while using it and it feels remarkably stable for a technical preview. I can’t say I’m a fan of the browser’s design, though — I don’t like that portions of the interface change colors based on the web page you’re viewing, but to each their own.

I’m not optimistic that Vivaldi will last, simply because the market is so much more mature than it was a decade ago. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see a larger variety of successful web browsers, but I don’t see any evidence that people are willing to switch to a new one without the help of a multi-billion dollar company promoting it.

Opera Chimes in on Flash ➝

Opera’s product analyst Phillip Grønvold speaking with TechRadar UK:

But flash as a video container makes very little sense for CPU, WiFi battery usage etcetera – you can cook an egg on [devices] once you start running Flash on them and there’s a reason for that.

It’s starting to look like everyone is admitting it, except Adobe.

Opera Mini Impressions

Today, Opera announced that their Opera Mini web browser for the iPhone has been approved for the App Store. It showed up in the U.S. App Store shortly after their announcement. I’ve tried it out and honestly, it’s not very good.

The first site I visited on Opera Mini was my own (naturally) and needless to say it didn’t render too well. All of the text is pushed off to the left and scrunched up. Compare this to Mobile Safari which renders it much better.

Next I tried to view Engadget in the browser. It rendered much better than I thought it would, but the text of each of the posts was also scrunched to the left. At this point I started to understand why Opera does this. Double tapping zooms in and the text happens to fit the width of the screen nicely. This way you don’t have to do any horizontal scrolling to read a line. I personally believe that Apple’s decision to render pages as they are coded is a better way to handle this sort of problem. I hope Opera changes their mind and starts rendering pages properly in the future.

But, speaking of zooming, there happens to be only two levels of zoom, zoomed in and zoomed out. This is a hindrance when your trying to zoom into a high-resolution image or trying to fit something on the screen perfectly — it just isn’t possible.

There are some nice features in Opera, though. The ability to quickly switch between a search of Google, Amazon, eBay, Wikipedia, etc. in the search bar would come in handy when you are trying to find something specific on the web. I often find myself searching Google for “something wikipedia” while using Mobile Safari. I want information about that thing but would prefer to find it on Wikipedia. I’m sure the “Find in Page” feature will be used extensively, and I’m willing to bet that some people will consider it a killer feature. Unfortunately, I don’t happen to be one of those people. Searching within a page is great but there are already bookmarklets available that enable the same feature in Mobile Safari.

Opera features a handy start page with up to 9 web pages listed for quick browsing. But as long as you close the last window the last time it was used, Mobile Safari will show you your bookmarks the next time it opens. And, I happen to find Mobile Safari’s bookmark list more attractive than Opera’s wonky-looking start page, especially with that “Recommend to a friend” link at the top.

Bookmarks, history, and tabbed browsing are all there, although bookmarks are hidden inside of the tools button and their tabbed browsing implementation is simply terrible. Why in the world do I have to tap the close button twice before a page closes? It just doesn’t make any sense.

I have some other issues with the browser, I don’t like that the title bar is always visible at the top of the screen, tapping on the status bar doesn’t scroll to the top (it does with the title bar), I hate the icons along the bottom of the screen, and I cannot stress enough how terrible the rendering is. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of Smoking Apples rendered in Opera (left) and Mobile Safari (right):

Pretty awful, right?

Web pages do load quickly, though. I can give them that. And, I’m glad to see a “Saved Pages” feature for offline viewing. However, Instapaper is my preferred way of reading while offline.

I don’t think I’ll be using Opera Mini again any time soon, but I’m certainly happy that it exists. Not only does this open the doors to other browsers in the App Store, it will also help push Apple to continue improving Mobile Safari.

Opera Mini Web Browser – Free

Opera Mini Submitted to App Store ➝

Opera has announced that they’ve submitted their Opera Mini browser to Apple’s App Store. They’ve chosen to make this submission process very public, even putting an “Opera Mini Countup” page on their website that counts the seconds since the application was submitted to Apple.

Opera Mini uses server-side rendering which Opera claims can load web pages up to six times faster. But, the best feature by far is its ability to search the contents of a web page — something I’ve been waiting for Apple to implement since day one.

Whether Apple will accept the application remains to be seen. But, judging by the fact that Opera has decided to make this process so public, I have a feeling they don’t expect it to be accepted. I don’t know why else they would put a counter on their website publicly displaying how long it takes for Apple to reject or approve it.

I truly hope Apple approves it, even if it takes a rejection followed by public outcry for it to happen. I just want Apple to be forced to innovate again. They currently have the best mobile browser on the best mobile platform and without someone else to push them along I’m afraid they’ll be happy to sit where they are.