Opera previews new Web, mobile browsers

Opera Software ASA released two technologies to beta testing Wednesday, one that the company said gives Web browser users a more convenient way to access their most visited sites, and another that shows off the next version of the Opera Mobile browser for Windows Mobile devices.

The Oslo company introduced Speed Dial, a new feature that lets people create nine visual bookmarks to their top Web sites that are immediately available in any new tab. The feature will be available in Opera 9.2 and is now available in beta from Opera's Web site.

Opera also unveiled a technology preview of the next release of the Opera browser for Windows Mobile. With Opera Mobile 8.65 users across all the PocketPC and smartphone versions of Windows Mobile will received new features such as searching directly in the address bar, copy text, save function for images and the ability to import Internet Explorer bookmarks. The Opera Mobile 8.65 beta is also available on Opera's Web site.

Opera has had more widespread success with its mobile browser than it has with its desktop version since it decided in August 2004 to ship browsers for devices running Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS. While the Opera Web browser trails Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer and Mozilla Corp.'s Firefox in market share reports, Opera has been successful in teaming with handset providers to offer its mobile browser on numerous devices. Just last month Microsoft said it plans to offer Opera Mobile in addition to its own mobile browser on some of the first devices that will run the new Windows Mobile 6 OS.

The company came up with the idea of Speed Dial for its Web browser because people generally visit about five to 10 sites every day, said Johan Borg, team manager for Opera's desktop browser, in a press release. The new feature is aimed at giving them instant access to those sites, he said.

With each blank tab, Speed Dial presents a thumbnail preview of the top nine sites as selected by the user. Users also can enter the number corresponding with each bookmarked Speed Dial page in Opera's address field to access the page.

In addition to releasing the Opera Mobile 8.65 beta, Opera also announced some new Windows Mobile handsets on which users can now find Opera Mobile. Over the last few months, the browser became available on the following Windows Mobile devices: Motorola MOTO Q q9; the ASUS V1210 for Vodafone International and the VDA IV for Vodafone Germany; T-Mobile Ameo; Dopod U1000 in Asia; and the Toshiba G500.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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