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Opera Mobile claims desktop-speed browsing

By Christian Harris, TechWorld
February 06, 2008 11:17 AM ET

TechWorld - Opera has announced the latest version of its Opera Mobile smartphone browser, promising a user experience similar to that of Web browsing on a desktop PC.

Built on the company's proprietary core architecture, Opera 9.5 featured a revamped Presto rendering engine claimed to be 2.5 times faster than Microsoft's Internet Explorer Mobile with page load speeds "comparable" to a desktop experience. The Presto engine should also improve page responsiveness on pages with heavy use of languages such as JavaScript and Ajax.

"Opera Mobile is the result of Opera's unwavering commitment to a vision that puts a true Web experience in the hands of mobile users," said Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software.

"The improved functionality of Opera Mobile 9.5 and easy access to information has raised the bar on a more compelling mobile Web browsing experience and will further stimulate mobile Internet adoption," he said.

In addition to speed, Opera Mobile 9.5 adds convenient new features. Zoom and Pan, for instance, make reading content more comfortable, and there's now the ability to save pages for offline browsing, Web address auto complete and a password manager. It also adds a full text history search, allowing you to find pages you forgot to bookmark previously, and Flash gets a look in thanks to Flash Lite 3.0 support.

Opera Widgets - mini applications - allow content to be accessed from the device's idle screen, and you can call numbers from Web pages and send images from the Internet via MMS or email. The new user interface even fades away when you don't need it, letting you see the Web page using the whole screen.

Opera Mobile is currently shipped on more than 100 million phones with many of the world's top mobile OEMs and operators such as HTC, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and T-Mobile. Opera Mobile 9.5 will be available on all major platforms including Symbian, Windows Mobile and Linux, as both a standalone browser and as a SDK.

According to market research firm, In-Stat, the smartphone market will grow at more than a 30 percent compound annual growth rate for the next five years globally, exceeding unit sales for laptops, as users experience significant value from their smartphones.

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