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Ask your questions to the people behind Opera Widgets on mobile phones

mobile-widget.jpgA few months ago Opera announced that the upcoming edition of Opera Mobile, based on the Opera 9 browser, will support Opera Widgets.

These Opera Widgets are small web applications that run outside of the browser and will be instantly accessible on the phone without having to launch the Web browser.

Opera Widgets are based on the same technologies used to create webpages – HTML, CSS, SVG, JavaScript (and AJAX) – so you could easily create a weather, traffic, news or email widget that gets its data by using AJAX, for example. No longer do you need to program your mobile applications in JME, etc – now, it’s as simple as developing webpage.

Opera Widgets is certainly an exciting technology platform for developers to build applications for mobile phones. There are far more developers that are able to program using web technologies than any other development technology for mobile. In addition, this will allow for user-generated mobile widgets to be easily developed and deployed.

I thought it would be beneficial for you guys and gals to get more information about widgets on mobile phones. I’ve invited a couple of Product Managers at Opera Software working on the mobile side to answer the questions you may have on mobile widgets.

Post your questions about Opera Widgets support on mobile phones to the comments. I’ll post the answers here on Opera Watch in the coming weeks.

Got any questions about Opera Widgets on mobile phones? Ask.

Silverlight will work with Opera

Microsoft Silverlight, which is a cross-browser plug-in for creating rich interactive applications, is getting lots of buzz these days.

I’ve seen many complaints on blogs and forums about Silverlight not working in Opera. I will have a bit more information about this later, but for now I can just say that Silverlight will work in Opera.

More later.

Update: More details on Silverlight support in Opera

Categories: Compatibility

Universities and others benefit from Opera's paid support

Last week I blogged about whether people still use Opera’s paid support for the desktop browser when there’s so much free help available in the Opera Forums.

Ben Buchanan, an Opera user, mentioned (in the comments) his experience on getting his university to install Opera on their computers in the student lab. “To get a new bit of software installed in a large scale computing environment, you have to prove that it can and will be supported.”

Here’s what Ben wrote (edited for clarity):

I used to work at a university and was successful in getting Opera installed in all the student computer lab machines (and made available to staff on request). To get a new piece of software installed in a large scale computing environment you have to prove that it can and will be supported.

At the time, Opera was free for universities but not the world; so there was a “priority support” deal that universities could sign up to. That, plus the bailout option of being able to buy support actually made the product more attractive to the execs making the decisions. Essentially, large organizations actually want to be able to pay for support – since they don’t want to rely on “goodwill” support like forums.

It’s a reasonable concern – the tech support crew doesn’t want to be lumped with an unsupported product and hundreds of students asking for help. They’ve got to be able to get support quickly if they need it.

The other big thing was Opera moving to an MSI installer – man did the techs grumble about the previous non-MSI version. Again, quite a reasonable issue, since MSI installers were infinitely easier for them to roll out.

Opera does offer paid support, which should, in theory, make it more attractive for large organizations to install rather than Firefox (which doesn’t offer any paid support).

Are you a student in school? Have you tried getting Opera installed on your school’s computers? Help others realize the Opera-browsing experience too!

Categories: Desktop

Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese versions of Opera's site released

Opera launched two more localized versions of www.opera.com in Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. These sites will enable users from their respective regions to view Opera’s pages in their native language.

China continues to be a key market for Opera with 137 million Internet users, making it the world’s second largest market behind the US.

In addition to Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese, Opera also has localized versions in Russian, Korean, Polish, and Japanese. Opera is currently working on localizing its website in other key markets.

I’d like to give a plug to a Chinese Opera blog by an Opera user in China.

Note: I’ve updated this post with a reference to Traditional Chinese, rather than Taiwanese.

Categories: Marketing

10 years of SSL in Opera

April 30, 2007 4 comments

April 30th, 1997 was the first time Opera’s SSL implementation completed a full transaction.

Opera’s Yngve Pettersen (who is one of the first Opera employees) just blogged about some of the technical aspects of implementing Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) support in the Opera browser. SSL, in short, is the means which provide the secure communications over the Internet.

In addition to the history on Opera’s support of SSL, Yngve also explains the future of Opera’s SSL/Transport Layer Security (TLS) implementation.

(Read more)

Categories: Desktop, Security, Standards

How Opera Mini is exploding in popularity with virtually no advertisement?

April 30, 2007 7 comments

It has been only a short 15 months since Opera Mini was released, and even with virtually no paid advertisement on Opera’s part, the mini mobile browser has been exploding in popularity all across the world.

I get the Opera Mini usage statistics report every day, and I see the growth among active users continue upwards.

It’s almost mind boggling to me that it became so popular largely through the power of word of mouth.

As part of my job I attend many conferences and events; I bump into people using Opera Mini all the time. The response I usually get is more than just neutral – they’re lovin’ it.

Opera Mini just works.

Which is why people are not only using it themselves, they’re also recommending it to others. The success of Opera Mini is all due to everyone who’s convinced a friend, family member or colleague to try it.

Here’s an example of how Opera Mini is gaining traction. Martin Hansen, a reader of this blog posted the following comment (edited for clarity) to a post I wrote yesterday.

“I told my brother about Opera Mini a couple months ago, and now he uses it quite a lot. Anyway, here the other day he was recalled to the military for a week’s training operation. And in the evening after a hard days work, he goes online with Opera Mini, a perfect situation where Opera Mini is a life saver.

Well, what happened is that suddenly everyone in his squad (or whatever) now wanted Opera Mini too. And he told me the impressions of Opera Mini were good among the people. I guess this is how Opera Mini has gotten many users without much active advertising.”

PC Magazine recently gave Opera Mini a 4 star rating, saying “If you only ever download one cell phone app, download Opera… Opera Mini 3.0 might change your life. This software injects an almost desktop-quality Web browser into even relatively humble devices.”

Opera Mini is becoming so popular; it’s now competing with some desktop browsers. For example, in Ukraine Opera Mini is more used than Safari, Netscape and Mozilla combined. Now, that’s a feat for a mobile browser.

How many people have **you** told about the free Opera Mini?

Categories: Opera Mini

Review: Wii Opera-powered browser first console-based browser that works intuitively

April 29, 2007 7 comments

In a review on the Computer and Video Games (CVG) site, the Wii Opera-powered browser (Internet Channel) got a praising review for its intuitiveness and ability to quickly load pages, images and Flash video.

The review mentions some nice things about the browser, though I wanted to make a couple comments on it.

First, the reviewer says: “The PSP browser is much like its bigger brother only slower, and the DS browser, which is also provided by Opera, is agonizingly slow. Fortunately for Wii, Opera got its act together and has come up with a far better browser than we expected.”

I’m not sure what is meant by “Opera got its act together”. No comparison can be made to the Opera browser on the Nintendo DS, where Opera has to work around a total memory limit of 4MB of RAM, to the Wii, which has way more RAM. Running a browser using only 4 MB of RAM truly shows the compactness and efficiency of the Opera browser.

In addition, the reviewer seemed somewhat surprised that their site worked and rendered correctly on the Wii browser. It’s no surprise to me – after all, the Wii browser uses a more advanced version of Opera’s rendering engine than is currently available on the desktop Opera. So if the site works well in the Opera desktop browser, it should on the Wii browser too. It’s the same browser.

Categories: Opera on Nintendo