Mobile World Congress may be primarily a place where new phones and tablets are launched, but it’s a good place to launch an app, as well. Opera has seized the opportunity with two new mobile versions of its browser, Opera Mini Next and Opera Mobile 12.
Opera Mini Next is a developer preview of the next Opera Mini. It includes a home screen called a “smart page” that features regularly visited websites and includes one-click access to social networks like Facebook and Twitter. This new menu will be located besides the current Speed Dial interface.
None of this may sound particularly innovative, but Opera Mini is designed for use not just on smartphones but also feature phones, which often have smaller displays and rely on effective use of screen real-estate. To quote SEO Lars Boilsen, “When people think of using social networks on the go, they often imagine a smartphone […] we know that’s not the way a majority of mobile phone owners access their social networks.” In fact, smartphone users won’t be able to access Smart Page at all.
Opera Mobile 12’s update more of an under-the-hood revision instead of a feature update. It adds WebGL support, a new HTML5 parser ominously called Ragnarok, and support for mobile camera use through your browser.
Opera Mini for iPhone has been given a minor update, as well. File uploads are now supported and the Speed Dial page can handle more than nine items.
You can download Opera Mini Next by visiting m.opera.com/next. Android and Symbian users can download Opera Mobile 12 off their respective markets and iPhone users can download the new version of Opera Mini from the Apple App Store. As always, all versions of Opera’s browser are free.