Tag Archive | "opera"

Intel Smartphone Demo – Opera 12, Asphalt 6 (Video)

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We had time to get some more hands-on with the Intel Smartphone reference design here at MWC this morning. It feels powerful! Apart from an Intel-optimised build of Opera, Gameloft have also been porting over to the Intel platform. It’s worth noting that applications that don’t use any NDK, will run on the Intel Android platform without any modification. There’s an ARM-NDK emulation layer in there too so even some apps that do use ARM NDKs will work but for the best experience, ISVs are going to have to recompile their apps to use the Intel NDK where needed.

Don’t forget that the platform includes Wi-Di support and has some image processing hardware inside. Apart from that though, it’s difficult to see a clear advantage for Intel right now, especially if ISV can’t be bothered to port their NDK-reliant apps over.

 

Opera Mini Browser Miraculously Makes it Through App Store Approval

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mini5-iphone-submission Count me as one of the people who said “It’ll never happen” when first hearing about Opera submitting it’s Opera Mini browser, designed for the iPhone, to the Apple App Store. Despite the fact that I really wanted Opera Mini to make it through, it just seemed like there was no way, based on Apple’s previous behavior, that this browser would make it though. There are “alternative” browsers in the App Store, however they are really just reskined versions of Safari. Opera Mini, on the other hand, is using it’s own framework and I believe it’s own rendering engine, which is why it is particularly amazing that it’s been approved for release into the App Store. Additionally, it features Opera’s ‘Turbo’ technology to speed up page loading times by compressing the data on Opera’s servers before sending it to your phone. This feature significantly improves load times when using slower connections such as 3G or especially EDGE, rather than WiFi.

While I’d love to give you some usage impressions, Opera Mini is not working for me for some strange reason. I haven’t heard this yet reported elsewhere so I’m assuming it is an isolated case, but for the record, Opera Mini is not working on my iPhone 3GS or my iPad as of this writing – it hangs on the launch page and never gets passed it. If you don’t have an iPhone yourself, or are having the same issue as me, the least I can offer you is this video of how Opera Mini works on the iPhone:

As for it not running for me… that’s ok because MobileCrunch has you covered and has already run speed tests comparing Opera Mini to Safari, and with this cursory glance, it would appear that Opera Mini is indeed faster. Now if I could just get it working…

Opera 10.5 Launched. Javascript Speed Looks Good.

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Opera 10.5 has been knocking around in Beta for a while but from today it’s available as a fully released product and ‘The fastest browser on Earth.’

“Opera 10.50 is the fastest browser we have ever produced. Under the hood, we introduced a new JavaScript engine, Carakan, and a new graphics library, Vega. What that means to you: no more waiting around for a site to load.”

Opera also have the ‘turbo’ feature which really helps if you’re on a low-speed connection, the user interface has been tidied up and there’s the usual widgets, Opera Unite (I’m not convinced of the value of that yet) and Opera Link, A Mozilla Weave-like syncronisation tool.

I’ve done some testing on the UMID BZ as you can see below and so far I’m quite impressed. I enabled drag-scrolling using the opera:config#Scroll%20Is%20Pan URL and tested the Javascript engine using SunSpider. I’ve recorded the result in a FriendFeed thread that I encourage you too contribute to.

  • UMID BZ 1.2ghz Atom Z515,FF 3.6 – 4697.2ms
  • UMID BZ 1.2ghz Atom Z515, Opera 10.5 – 2879ms

umidopera

Naturally Javascript tests results are only a part of the picture but as we move to moving more and more AJAX applications online (Google Mail with Buzz and Contacts is a prime example) it becomes clear how much of an advantage it could be.

In a quick check on memory usage there didn’t appear to be any major difference between FF 3.6 and Opera 10.5 so all in all it looks like Opera 10.5 is a sensible choice and with the ‘Turbo’ features it makes a great choice for the mobile web.

Press release: Opera.

Opera Next. The next generation of mobile browsing?

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Update 18.: It’s Opera Mobile 5 Beta. I’m testing on an Omnia Pro right now. Fast, good features. No complaints yet! Have you tested it?

It’s a question that Opera is going to answer very soon. The next generation in mobile browsing. There are few clues from Opera as to what it could be but Will Park of Into Mobile has had a preview and he says that the headline will soon make sense. The puzzle is gradually being completed (the image is being completed) as time goes on at the Opera teaser site. Right now you can see the right-edge of a device being held in two hands. The ‘alt’ text for the image is ‘Opera Next.’

operanextgen

Is it going to be a new Opera Mini or Mobile product and what features would take it to the next level? Opera has already pushed the boundaries with their proxy, widget and sync features so what could be next? Touch friendly UI? Flash 9.5?

Support for more operating systems (Android has been promised) would be good but that’s hardly groundbreaking. How about location-enabled browsing? will the next Opera Mobile or Opera Mini app include the Geo API? Will Park says that there are clues in the teaser page and references ‘source code.’

Personally I think we’re looking at Opera Unite for Mobile based on what I read at GigaOM last week.

If Opera reveal one piece of the puzzle per day, we’re looking at a completed picture on Monday 28th September.

Thoughts on proxy browsers.

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This post is based on some notes I made in 2008. Following the release of the Opera 10 ‘Turbo’ preview client and the announcement of Opera Mobile 9.7 with ‘Turbo’ (Proxy) option I thought it would make sense to publish the notes.

turboOpera 10 preview with ‘Turbo’ Option

Disadvantages of Proxy-based browsers

  • Scalability. Size of server farm. Global distribution?
  • Business model – Pay-for browser or will the operator ‘tweak’ advertising? Carrier controlled server farm? Free value-added service by carriers?
  • Security. SSL terminates at proxy?
  • Privacy. Data mining and sale of data. Police access to browsing records.
  • High latency
  • Accuracy can’t be guaranteed
  • Single point of failure
  • Net neutrality – You lose geo targeted advertising and content.
  • Geographic focused content (geo-restricted content could leak E.g. Hulu. Geo targeting fails)
  • Plugins (in-line WMV, flash 10 etc)

Advantages of Proxy browsers

  • Far more efficient bandwidth utilisation
  • Reduced time to display full content (on lower bandwidths)
  • Lower client processor requirement (battery life saving)
  • Content reorganisation for the target screen.
  • Easy to implements system-wide safe browsing controls. (Can also be regarded as a walled-garden and marked as a ‘disadvantage’)

Legal question. Are proxy services republishing content with modification? How can content owners be sure their content (including ads) is presented as they wanted it? Can they prevent proxy services from using their content?

List of proxy browsers.

I’m a fan of both proxy and client-based browsers and as such, a browser like Opera 10 with the ‘Turbo’ option really interests me. It would save data when I’m roaming or on a limited data plan and would speed up the display of information when in low bandwidth or on low-cpu situations. For the smartphone or MIDs based on ARM, the Opera Mobile solution with ‘Turbo’ (option again) seems to be perfect too. I also like the idea of an intro-level unlimited browsing service that can be tacked on to a users cellphone account for little-to-no cost thus introducing people to the advantages of having the Internet in your pocket. As a content producer i’m a bit worried that my geo-targeting will suffer but if it introduces people to the idea of Internet on the go, I’m more than happy.

Turbo-Enabled Opera 10 Preview Available

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I love the community we have here.  Just 60 minutes after posting about Opera Mobile 9.7 and mentioning that it would be interesting to have a desktop version with Turbo, Hrundik drops a comment in to say “Opera Turbo preview for desktop is already available.”

And sure enough, there it is in Opera Labs for Windows, Mac and Linux.

ultra mobile PC users, this is something you have to have in your toolkit. Turbo Mode is going to save you bandwidth (if you’re on a restricted data plan) and speed up your browsing (if you’re on a slower connection.) I think it’s also going to reduce the CPU usage on rendering pages as the ‘Turbo’ servers do most of the work.

I’m off to do some testing. If you’ve already discovered Turbo-enabled Opera 10 preview, let us know how your testing went.

Opera Mobile 9.7 with ‘Turbo’ option announced.

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The Opera 9.6 SDK, released last year, included a little feature that a lot of people missed…

Also worth mentioning here is that Opera have announced the 9.6 SDK which supports some cool new stuff including the ability to use OpenGL accelerated zoom and pan and, here’s something unique, OBML support which allows the browser to display Opera compressed content just as is used on the Opera Mini browser. This is superb for travellers that want to cut their roaming data costs because it saves up to 90% of bandwidth and is fast in low-bandwidth scenarios. I’m looking forward to seeing this on a MID as it will be a great feature to have available. [Source]

Update:

Opera Turbo is NOT the same as OBML. Thanks to a few comments and few links and some research. It’s basically still HTML client-side rendering but using image compression, script delaying and flash blocking.
More info here: http://my.opera.com/desktopteam/blog/opera-turbo-labs-release?startidx=150

In Feb, Opera branded the function as ‘Opera Turbo’ [article] and finally, today, Opera have announced that Opera Mobile, that’s the version built for smartphone platforms, has reached version 9.7 and will include this ‘turbo’ technology making it, as far as I know, the first browser to be able to handle both client-side and proxy-based rendering.

Of course, this is perfect for mobile users as their bandwidth costs and availability can change rapidly so instead of having to switch to a different browser, you can turn on the ‘Turbo’ feature and carry on.

The announcement also highlights the use of the Presto 2.2 rendering engine and support for Flash.

There’s a demo video available on the Opera website.

Quite how long this will take to reach a phone is unknown as even version 9.5 is only available, in tailored format, on a handful of smartphones. 9.5 as a user download is still in Beta and there’s not even a sniff of a 9.6. We can only assume that this is an announcement for carriers and OEMs for the 2010 time frame.

I wonder if they’ll make a desktop version with this ‘turbo’ feature?

Opera announces the new Opera Mobile 9.7 at CTIA Wireless 2009 – a server-accelerated full Web experience for smartphones and mobile devices.

Opera. Turbo-Charged and LiMo luvin!

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I just wanted to round-up a couple of Opera-related news items that have come through the wires over the last few days. The first is an announcement about a ‘Opera Turbo’ and the second is an announcement that Opera are joining LiMo.

The Opera Turbo announcement is one I’ve been waiting for ever since the 9.6 SDK announcement way back at IBC in September. It’s OBML support, now renamed and re-marketed as Opera Turbo. At least I think it is! OBML is the process/protocol that Opera Mini uses and all the diagrams and descriptions point to the same methodology although the OBML acronym isn’t actually mentioned anywhere in the documentation.

operaturbo

What it means is that you could have one program for both WLAN and WWAN-based usage. If you find yourself in a 2.5G area or your data is being charged on a per-byte basic you can just switch to turbo mode and carry on with your familiar browser using a compressed, proxied service. The best of both worlds!

More details on Turbo in this white paper. (PDF) Press Release

The second announcement came today and informs us all that Opera has joined LiMo the Linux-based mobile software foundation (who also made announcements today.)

Opera Software today announced that it has joined the swelling ranks of mobile Linux leaders in the LiMo Foundation. Opera has a long history in developing its browser for the Linux platform and by joining this mobile Linux community the company hopes to contribute to the advancement of open and accessible mobile phone technology.

Opera’s ‘One Web’ vision revolves around the hope for a single, pervasive Internet, available to anyone, anywhere. By working closely with LiMo, Opera can ensure absolute compatibility with this platform, enabling easier development and faster time-to-market. Together, Opera and LiMo plan to nurture richer services, better user experiences and more affordable devices in the mobile industry by adhering to open standards-based development.

Joining LiMo might not exclude them from joining other organisations but it certainly sends a strong message out to Moblin and OHA.

Press release.

WM Smartphones get a Full Web Bashing.

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wmphones Gizmodo have just completed a browsing speed and accuracy test with three high-end windows mobile devices using Pocket IE and Opera 9.5. The results should hardly be a surprise. There isn’t a single reasonable result among them with page load times well over a minute in many cases and very few of the devices rendering the pages well.

In the test, Gizmodo used the Sony Xperia, HTC Fuze, Samsung Omnia and Samsung Epix. Some of the newest WM-based phones you can buy.

Opera 9.5 appears to have turned in a better level of quality and speed than Pocket IE but there’s still a bunch of ‘fails’ in there which would turn off anyone thinking of relying on the given combo.

We’ve done similar tests here in the past which have proven that, on average, with some of the best ARM-based devices you can find and under good conditions, average page load times are twice as long when compared to on low-end ultra mobile PCs. We’ve even done some extensive Opera Mobile 9.5 testing and can confirm that while it does render well, it needs a lot more horsepower underneath it than the average smartphone can provide. Nothing in the smartphone world, including the iPhone, comes close to the speed and accuracy of even the lowest-level ultra mobile PC or Intel-based MID so once again I hear myself saying; If you or your business relies on fast, accurate access to Web-based resources through a browser, don’t risk problems or waste time by using a sub-standard solution. Don’t try and push everything onto one device. Buy a dedicated device. If not for the speed and quality, do it to preserve battery life for your important voice calls!

Take a read of the article and the HUGE bashing that WM gets from author, Matt Buchanan. Its a fun read!

Source: Gizmodo Via Friendfeed

Archos 5 hands on at IBC. Video. Thoughts.

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When I wrote about Opera 9.5 Mobile a short while back I highlighted how it was a great browser with no hardware to run it on. What I said was that the processing power and screen size wasn’t enough for the software. The user interface was good but in order for it to be taken seriously as a crossover mobile/desktop, entertainment/productivity browser, it needed better hardware so when we heard about the new Archos devices recently and their Cortex ARM general purpose processors we knew there was a chance for some serious challenges to the Intel-based MIDs. The Archos devices have a rich, enjoyable touch user interfaces, very good video performance (see video below) and a suite of content and application accessory offerings that can be bolted on to improve the package further. Add the possibility of getting a 3G-enabled version and you got the makings of what could be one of the best MIDs yet. [More after the pic…]

archos5-2

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Speedtest. Firefox 3 Recommended for UMPCs and Netbooks

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ffumpc

Most, if not all of you reading this will have heard of the Firefox browser and many of you will have tried Firefox 3.0 beta. I held back from using it for a long time because it was beta software but the latest release candidate seems stable and has me converted on all platforms now. Firefox 3.0 is fast. Firefox 3.0 is memory efficient. Firefox 3.0 has great features and overall its a clear winner on ultra mobile PC and netbook platforms, especially when using online applications.

Like Safari, it appears from my test results that Firefox 3.0 can process java-heavy pages on a Ghz-class ultra mobile PC faster than the data arrives over my 6mbps Internet connection which means that for rich Internet applications, the bottleneck is at the remote server and there’s very little else you can do to speed up the experience. Apparently, java processing in FF3 is many many times faster than in version 2 so this explains the big improvement with online applications. Not only is the speed improved but there are some great features that will appeal to ultra mobile PC users too. But first, here’s some test results. I took 5 devices and ran speed tests on 3 browsers [*1] using reader.google.com as the target page. It’s a java-heavy page and there’s no flash or major numbers of images to process but its typically my slowest-loading browser application. It represents a typical online application and for web-workers, its a good, tough benchmark.

More info after the jump…

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Opera Mobile 9.5 to Elevate Smartphones into MID territory?

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I just blogged that 88% of my mobile device usage is with a browser. I dare say that if I had a device that was fast enough, had a good enough touchscreen and offered a real, http-based client browser then i’d be happy. Indeed, my own ideal device specifications from Feb 2006 run along those lines with the definition being open to any processing platform as long as it delivers a quality Internet experience.

This is the reason that I’m very interested in seeing how good Opera Mobile 9.5 is on the ARM Smartphone platforms. If it’s good enough its going to elevate big-screen smartphones into devices that I’d consider alongside an Intel MID. Take the iPaq 210/214 for example. Its only got a VGA touchscreen and no 3G but with Opera Mobile 9.5 it really could satisfy a lot of peoples mobile Internet requirements for a Nokia N810-beating price.

Matt Miller of ‘The Mobile Gadgeteer’ says Opera 9.5 is the ‘Best mobile browser I’ve ever used.’ and that it ‘provides more functionality than the rather revolutionary Apple iPhone browser.’ I say that this browser will make many people think twice about buying a MID because it not only looks and reacts well but its got some very nice advanced features. But there are clearly limitations. Google Docs didn’t work in Matts test which, although you may not use Google docs, should be a concern if you depend on complex sites like Meebo, iGoogle, Facebook etc. Flash-Lite is included which is good but how are other media types presented and supported? How fast can it render the full-fat Google Reader webpage? I know it takes a low-power PC about 15 seconds to render my Google Reader page. Any smartphone on the market today is going to have trouble doing that in under 25 seconds.

[Video after the break…]

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