Archive for July, 2006

Why hasn't Opera been able to attract more users?

I was reading a thread in the Opera forums that was discussing how to convince Internet Explorer (IE) and Firefox users to try out the Opera browser. One of the comments brought up an interesting point to ponder “Why are people afraid to switch to Opera?”

It’s obvious that Opera has had problems with increasing its market share over the past eleven years. In order for it to reverse this trend, it needs to first get to the bottom of why people haven’t switched yet.

Of course the ads were a big turn off, but Opera has been ad-free for nearly a year already. Is it the case that people still aren’t aware of this yet? If so, perhaps there needs to be more focus on it being ad-free.

There are two reasons, I believe, which causes people not to try (use) the Opera browser.

First, the look and feel (UI) of the Opera browser is different than IE and Firefox. Most people don’t like changes. Changing browsers is hard enough, getting familiar with the new ‘browser look’ shouldn’t make it harder.

Second, whether it’s Opera’s fault or not, the reality is that there are sites that don’t function properly in the Opera browser. This has been much less of an issue with the release of Opera 9, but nonetheless still a problem to reckon with. Why would users switch to Opera if not all sites work properly?

What do you think about this? Opera is a fast browser, low on memory resources, and very innovative, but why hasn’t it been able to attract more users?

Categories: Desktop, Marketing

Post passes on Opera over widgets

July 30, 2006 17 comments

The Washington Post has not been kind to the Opera browser. Technology columnist Rob Pegoraro has sniffed politely at the product, figuratively speaking, and turned up his nose. He’s an advocate for Firefox.

Now comes this review in the Post which is a more realistic assessment. It discusses the wholesale copying of Opera’s key features by the competition. It points out Opera’s advanced capabilities, but questions the viability of a strategy based on technology differentiation.  Since the history of the Internet is one of innovation, this seems odd.

It is remarkable that the reporter manages to spend an entire column in a review of the features of the desktop product and never once manages to comment on the firm’s success with the browser on mobile devices.  Even more interesting, well sort of, is his skepticism that Opera’s widgets are too cutting edge for the mainstream market.  Perhaps he hasn’t visited Yahoo or Google lately.

A Closer Look
Opera Browser, Still Perfecting Its Pitch
By Michael Tedeschi
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, July 30, 2006; Page F07
[full text at cited URL]

Categories: Uncategorized

Opera planning to unleash developer tools

July 28, 2006 9 comments

Earlier this month Opera asked me to solicit new browser features and functionality for future versions of Opera (Opera 9.x and Opera 10) from my readers. One of the more popular requests was for Opera to create developer tools.

Now word has come out from Opera that it is planning on creating developer tools to incorporate into the browser.

According to Opera’s PR manager for the desktop, Thomas Ford, Opera is now in the planning stages. “We want developers to use Opera as a Web development platform, using open standards. We need to keep the Web ready for open standards,” Ford told ZDNet UK.

Developers have been asking for tools, such as a DOM inspector, in the Opera browser for quite some time. It’s nice to see Opera paying attention to its users.

It’s also in Opera’s best interest to create these developer tools. If developers start using Opera as a web development platform, those sites are less likely to cause rendering trouble for alternative browsers.

As we’ve seen with the Opera Nintendo DS browser, the web is now being accessed more and more from places other than the desktop. Creating websites based on open standards will ensure that they’re rendered properly, irrespective of their browser platform.

Categories: Desktop

Opera mobile browser now included in Motorola's new line of Razr phones

July 27, 2006 10 comments

Opera yesterday announced that the Opera Mobile browser is included on the two new phones from Motorola, the MOTORAZR xx and the MOTORAZR maxx.

With the addition of these two Motorola phones, Opera’s mobile browser is now included on six Motorola phones. Opera signed a three-year deal with Motorola to make its mobile phone browser available on all major operating systems supported by Motorola.

Opera will receive royalty payment per mobile phone sold.

(Hat tip to Eskil and Ramunas)

Categories: Opera Mobile

Opera User Group meet up in the Baltimore-DC-Virginia area: Join us

July 26, 2006 15 comments

Join us for our first Opera User Group meet up in the Baltimore-DC-Northern Virginia area (in the United States of course). This meet up is a get-together by Opera users who would like to meet other users, where you can learn and share ideas.

If you’re an Opera user, no matter how much or little you know about Opera, this user group meeting can help you learn more about Opera, in addition to having the chance of meeting other people who share your passion.

We will be meeting at the Panera Bread cafe in Silver Spring, Maryland between 6:30PM and 8:30PM on August 7th. The cafe will have dinner and drinks as well as free wi-fi internet connection. If you’re planning on coming by train, make sure you take the Red Line and get off at the Silver Spring station. The cafe is one block away up the hill behind the ‘Discovery Channel’ sign.

I will be there, as well as Opera’s Tim “Junyor” Altman (he came up with this idea). I hope you will join us too.

For those of you who would like to start Opera User Groups in your area, in the coming weeks we will provide material and ideas to help you with that. These groups will be run by users for users, but Opera will be on the sidelines to offer support and material. Stay tuned for more info.

We’re also working on creating college and university groups, with the first one starting next month at the University of Texas at Austin. I’ll have more info on that in a few days.

I’ve set up an online group on the Opera Community site, where we’ll have announcements and other Opera User Group related info.

We’re still in the beginning stages of this, and we need all the advice and ideas we can get. Don’t be shy. Post your ideas in the comments to this post.

What: A meet up of Opera users.
Why: Meet others who share your passion and learn how to use Opera to its fullest.
Where: At the Panera Bread cafe in Silver Spring, Maryland (directions here | train info).
When: Monday August 7th, 2006 between the hours of 6:30PM and 8:30PM.

Categories: Opera Community

Opera CEO Jon von Tetzcher discusses the grand scheme for Opera Widgets: the mobile

July 26, 2006 11 comments

Are you confused about why Opera added widget support in the desktop browser? You’re not alone. Many are.

Many have been wondering why Opera is so focused on widgets; after all we (or at least I) haven’t seen any real useful ones for the desktop browser. Opera Widgets, which are written with simple HTML and JavaScript and act just like a webpage, don’t have the same access to the browser’s API like Firefox’s extensions.

Perhaps we need to give it a bit more time to see any real useful Opera Widgets for the desktop browser. Opera Widgets haven’t been around for that long, after all.

The truth is, Opera Widgets were first created to run on device and mobile phones (using the Opera Platform), not the desktop. Support for widgets on the desktop browser came later.

Widgets are an excellent way to create programs and applications on mobile devices, without the need to write extensive programming code. It’s much easier and cheaper to make a widget than to make the traditional application for devices.

Since Opera Widgets are based on open standards, they can run anywhere. The widgets you make for the desktop browser will run on mobile phones and other devices, such as your TV.

Opera’s founder and CEO, Jon von Tetzchner, discusses these very points in an interview published today about widgets and its importance to Opera.

I think Opera has largely failed to explain why it’s focusing so much on widgets. This interview with Jon gives, probably for the first time, a detailed look into Opera’s thinking on widgets.

It’s an excellent interview and worth reading.

Categories: Opera Widgets

Video review of the new Opera Nintendo DS Browser

July 25, 2006 6 comments

The Opera Nintendo DS browser made its debut yesterday in Japan.

Josh Zimmerman created a couple of YouTube video reviews of the new browser, which he posted on his site. Those videos are very informative and worth watching.

The Nintendo DS browser is scheduled to be released in Europe on October 6th.

Categories: Opera on Nintendo