Archive for May, 2006

Google CEO dismisses talk of a Google Browser; Recommends the Opera browser

In a conference call today with Wall Street analysts, Google CEO Eric Schmidt dismissed the idea that Google is planning on creating its own browser, Reuters reported.

“It looks like people have some good browser[s] choices already,” Schmidt said. “We would not build a browser for the fun of building a browser,” he said.

Schmidt also mentioned that Google has partnerships with Opera Software that encourages the use of the Opera browser.

Late last year there was a rumor that Google was planning on buying the Opera browser, though an Opera official outright denied this claim, after I asked about it, saying, “Rumors come and go. Google is not buying Opera.”

Earlier this year Opera and Google entered into an agreement where Google would be the default search partner for the mobile browsers: Opera Mobile and Opera Mini. Under the one-year contract, Opera will make Google Search a major part of the browser’s home screen.

Opera also has a deal with Google, which includes a search revenue deal, marketing support and technical cooperation.

I sure hope that if Google is sticking with alternative browsers, that it would offer better support or its services for browsers such as Opera and Safari.

(Hat-tip to Tom O’Shea)

Categories: Uncategorized

Opera browser for Windows Mobile Pocket PC released

May 31, 2006 7 comments

The first ever (stable) version of the Opera browser for Windows Mobile and the Pocket PC was released today.

Based on Opera’s latest core code, Opera Mobile 8.6 for Windows Mobile Pocket PC (PPC) includes Opera’s rendering technology that dynamically reformats Web pages to fit the width of any screen size without the need for the horizontal scrollbar. It also supports all major Web standards, including CSS2, DOM 2 and JavaScript.

One very helpful feature in this browser is the auto-complete option. With Web address auto complete, Opera will make suggestions while you type, based on your browsing history and bookmarks. Once you’ve tried it, you would never go back. This should help make typing long URLs on mobile phones much easier.

Opera 8.60 lets you keep up to four open windows (tabs) at the same time, and switch easily between them using either the menu or a shortcut. Each window can have its own settings for zoom levels and page display options.

Today’s release has been much anticipated, as this is the first stable version of the Opera browser for the Pocket PC.

Opera Mobile 8.6 runs on Windows Mobile 5 and 2003 SE.

Features in Opera Mobile 8.6 for Pocket PC include:

  • Tabs – Open multiple Web pages at the same time, and switch between them using the tabbed interface.
  • Landscape/Portrait Mode – Opera Mobile adapts Web pages to fit the width of the screen in both landscape and portrait modes.
  • Web address auto-complete – The browser remembers your typed-in addresses.
  • Zoom – Magnify text and images in Web pages for better accessibility.
  • Download – Get any files and content from the Web, including ringtones and images.
  • Full screen – View Web pages with the browser interface, or in full screen mode.
  • Fit-to-screen – Browse Web pages in full size or with Opera’s Small-Screen Rendering(TM) to avoid horizontal scrolling.
  • Pop-up handler – Block unwanted pop-ups
  • Pad-lock icon on secure sites – The browser can identify trusted sites to avoid scams and phishing attempts

Opera Mobile 8.6 Pocket PC   Opera Mobile 8.6 Pocket PC  Opera Mobile 8.6

Opera Mobile 8.6 Pocket PC  Opera Mobile 8.6 Pocket PC  Opera Mobile 8.6 Pocket PC

(Click on the screenshots above to enlarge)
Categories: Uncategorized

Opera Watch interviewed in this month's OperaBits Newsletter

May 30, 2006 5 comments

Opera Watch was profiled in the May issue of Opera’s monthly newsletter, Opera Bits, which includes an interview with me.

If you don’t yet subscribe to OperaBits, you can do so here.

Categories: Interviews

Why no Opera Browser for the Palm OS?

The Opera Mobile browser provides support for a wide variety of devices and operating systems. However, one noticeable absent operating system is Palm OS, including the very popular Treo series.

So why hasn’t Opera created a mobile browser for the Palm OS?

A while ago I spoke with an Opera spokesperson, who told me it’s due to the lack of interest by the makers of the Palm. “Opera Software continuously considers new platforms based on market demand. There are no specific reasons why we shouldn’t be able to port to Palm OS if there was sufficient demand – typically from a device vendor”.

I saw in the forums posted this past week a more detailed explanation by Opera’s Rijk van Geijtenbeek.

“Porting Opera to most of those operating systems has been sponsored by phone manufacturers and companies like IBM. Older Palms didn’t have enough capabilities to port Opera in a meaningful way. I don’t know if that would be different for recent versions, but even then it seems the future of the Palm OS is uncertain. But if Palm had wanted this, they could of course have talked to Opera.”

Of course Palm users can still use Opera Mini as their browser, however, it’s doesn’t have the full Opera Mobile browser functionality.

Are you a Palm user? What do you think? Is Opera Mini good enough for you? Or are you waiting for Opera to port the browser to the Palm OS too?

Categories: Opera Mobile

Opera Mobile becomes the first mobile browser to pass the Acid2 test

May 24, 2006 9 comments

Opera Mobile for the Series 60 (S60) mobile phones has passed the Acid2 test in its internal builds (See screenshot below), according to Gerdur Jonsdottir, an Opera developer working on the browser.

This makes it the very first mobile browser to pass the Acid2 test.

“This is a version still in its early stages but this is definitely promising”, says Gerdur.

The Web Standards Project (WaSP) released the Acid2 test, a test page for web browsers. It has been written to help browser vendors make sure their products correctly support features that are part of web standards.

Acid2 tests for features that are part of existing standards but haven’t been supported by major browsers. Acid2 is a complex web page. Though not all web standards are tested, it uses features that are not in common use yet, because of lack of support, and it crams many tests into one page.

Opera 9, Konqueror, and Apple’s Safari browser have passed the Acid2 test on their desktop browsers.

Screenshot of an internal build of
Opera Mobile passing the Acid2 test
Categories: Acid

Opera 9 Beta 2 Released

Beta 2 of Opera 9 was released today.

This version contains mostly bug fixes and minor changes.

As we reported last week
, the Widgets User Interface (UI) has been changed. Widgets are no longer displayed on a faded screen. A “Widgets” menu in the menu bar has replaced the “Opera Widgets” button, which used to be displayed on the top-middle part of the screen. Also new is a Widget management window, which provides options to add, open, and manage widgets.

The default behavior of Widgets has also been changed. When a Widget is opened, it is displayed in TaskBar. One problem I noticed with it, is that you can’t right-click the Widget in the TaskBar and close it, there isn’t even a close button on the Widgets itself, which makes closing the widget a bit difficult.

I’ll be sticking with beta 1 for now, since beta 2 seems to have broken the WYSIWYG editor of WordPress, which is the publishing tool I use for Opera Watch.

The final version of Opera 9 is scheduled to be released in June.

Read my review on Opera 9.

P.S. Take a look at this week’s poll on Opera Watch.

Download Opera 9 beta 2
Read Changelog: WindowsLinuxMac

Categories: Desktop

Ask Firefox Founder and Creator Blake Ross

Firefox LogoFirefox, no doubt, has raised the awareness of alternative browsers, and as Opera users we have benefited a great deal by having less of a compatibility issue with broken webpages.

Since its launch less than two years ago, Firefox has captured an astonishing 10 percent of the browser market, which no other alternative browser has been able to do since the end of Browser World War 1 (BWW I).

Firefox’s founder and creator Blake Ross has agreed to be interviewed on Opera Watch, but instead of me asking the questions, I’d like to give you the chance.

Post your questions to the comments of this post, and we’ll send the top 10-12 questions to Blake.

This interview is of course not just for Opera users, Opera Watch has many Firefox subscribers too, and in fact Blake Ross himself subscribes to Opera Watch (Subscribe to Opera Watch). I encourage all browser users to take this opportunity and submit questions.

Here is your chance to ask him the tough questions.

Please let’s keep the interview questions polite and professional, as it serves nobody to be trolls.

Categories: Interviews