If you’ve been following the browser wars over the last 18 months you’ll know the Firefox/Internet Explorer battle has been dominating headlines, but look closer and you’ll notice a third player sneaking up on the rails and announcements like this are the reason why...
For while Internet Explorer Mobile is more out of date that IE4 and Firefox’s mobile browser project minimo has surprisingly been all but shelved Opera is about to surge ahead with version 9 of ‘Opera Mobile’.
Unfortunately, a full feature list for Opera Mobile 9 has yet to be released but we do know two of its key new features: ‘Widgets’ and ‘Intelligent Zoom’. Many of you will have heard of the former which are small easily recallable web applications that run outside of the browser providing dynamic services - weather reports, traffic information, currency/language converters, etc - but unless you own a Wii chances are the later remains a mystery.
This is because Opera is the default browser on the Wii and it actually comes equipped with Intelligent Zoom, a feature which allows users to zoom directly into any selected area of a webpage. Funnily enough, Apple’s iPhone offers a similar capability in its cut down Safari browser but now you can save yourself the GNP of a small country by getting such functionality on your regular smart phone.
Other details on Opera Mobile 9 No are unknown but it will keep the tabbed browsing, input auto completion, download manager, pop-up blocker and touch and scroll elements that made eight such a hit.
There’s no release date as yet for a final version of Opera Mobile 9 but the company did indicate to me that it will start beta testing in March. If you’ve put up with Internet Explorer Mobile for this long I suggest you pay close attention to the Opera website over the next couple of months...