Opera Mobile will be hitting the Android platform within a month, according to the company. This is the full mobile version of the Opera browser, and will add pinch/zoom and hardware acceleration to take advantage of high-powered smartphones currently on the market. The Android (s goog) web browser is as good as that on any mobile platform, so Opera is obviously hoping the new browser will convince the millions of users of Opera Mini to upgrade to the new version. Opera Mini is designed to work well on low-end phones and isn’t as full-featured as Opera Mobile.
The upcoming release of Opera Mobile for Android will follow on the heels of the release of Opera 11 for the desktop. The new desktop version will add a feature that has been requested for a long time: extensions, which will bring Opera up to speed with Firefox and Chrome. Opera is mum about extensions on Opera Mobile, so most likely, this will be added in the future.
Opera’s choice to launch the new mobile browser first on Android demonstrates how big an impact the platform is having in the smartphone space. Historically, it has been common for companies to release an iOS (s aapl) version of apps first, followed by other platforms. This is changing due to the rapid growth of Android, and we should see Android versions of other apps getting released first going forward. The fact that it’s easier for developers to get apps in the Android Market quickly no doubt plays a role, too.
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