Right on Time, Opera Teases a Tablet Browser

Today, Opera announced a touch-based version of its web browser specifically for tablet computers. The company demonstrated the new Opera for Touch product in a video spotted by the Webmonkey blog and will provide more details later this week in conjunction with the Consumer Electronics Show. The early preview look shows a smooth browsing and zooming experience on a Samsung Galaxy Tab and comes just as dozens of tablets are expected to debut at the CES.

Although the Opera Mobile browser has supported touchscreen devices in the past, it appears that this version is specific to larger, multi-touch tablets. Like prior versions of Opera, the video preview shows Opera’s Speed Dial feature, which is akin to a visual bookmark function.

Opera previously built a version of its Mini browser for Apple iOS (s aapl) devices, but today’s preview video shows only an Android (s goog) tablet. I’d expect Opera to leverage both Android and Apple’s iPad for the new touch-based browser, but we’ll find out for sure later this week. Even amid my initial skepticism that iOS device owners would use the Opera Mini browser, the iPhone routinely appears in the list of most-used devices for Opera’s browser.

Given the sluggishness I find with Samsung’s customized browser on the Galaxy Tab, I’ll happily try an Opera browser specific for tablets. For now, I’m using the Dolphin HD Browser, which just gained Xmarks bookmark syncing, but there’s always room for Opera on my Android tablet. And for tablet owners on a limited data plan, Opera’s compression technology might be just the thing to cut down on your mobile broadband usage.

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