Opera Software has announced a slew of updates for its various mobile web browsers, including a new Opera Mini for the iPhone and Opera Mobile 12 for Android phones.
Contrary to what many may think, the real race in mobile web browsers is not between Mobile Safari and Android’s web browser, but between Mobile Safari and Opera Mobile/Mini. As we’ve mentioned before, actual mobile traffic data puts Opera just a touch ahead of Mobile Safari in the race for most-used mobile web browser.
To get the latest version of Opera Mini for the iPhone, head to the Apple App Store. The Android version of Opera Mobile 12 is available in the Android Market Place. If you’re using another platform, or have a feature phone, head to m.opera.com to download the latest release for your phone.
The latest release of the iPhone variant of Opera Mini adds several useful new features, including support for more than nine items on the Speed Dial page, support for the iPhone’s native dictionary and improved traffic compression on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Other changes include fixing a bug that prevented session restore from working properly when your battery died. For full details on everything that’s new in Opera Mini 7 for iOS, check out the release notes.
There’s also a new preview version of Opera Mini available, with support for what Opera calls “Smart Page.” Smart Page takes the idea of Opera’s Speed Dial — the “new tab” screen with your favorite sites just a click away, which has since made its way into all the major desktop browsers — and applies it to the social web. Smart Page gives feature phone users one-click access to social networks and news sites like Twitter and Facebook. For now Smart Page is only available on the feature phone version of Opera Mini Next, though the company plans to eventually include it on other phones as well.
If you’d like to take Opera Mini Next for a spin on older feature phones, point your phone tom.opera.com/next. Keep in mind that this a preview release and there may be bugs.
In addition to Opera Mini and Opera Mini Next, Opera has also released Opera Mobile 12 for Android, Symbian and other mobile platforms. This release brings WebGL support to Opera Mobile 12 on Android, which means better support for 3D and other complex web graphics. Opera’s new HTML5 parser — which we looked at in our review of Opera 11.60 for the desktop — is also included in Opera Mobile 12.
Other new features include support for the Media Capture API, which means websites can access your phone’s camera, and more options for customizing the Speed Dial (including the same increased number of Speed Dial items found in the other releases).