It's been but a few weeks since Opera's announcement of Opera Mobile for Android at their Up North Web conference, and now the browser is out there navigating the maze of tubes that is the Internet. While they didn't quite meet their "within the month (October)" promise, we can forgive them for wanting to polish things a little further.

However, glancing at Opera Mobile for the first time, your look might be one of the askance variety; "What's this? It looks just like Opera Mini!". While this is true, the real differentiation in the Mobile version versus the Mini version is beneath the hood. As promised, Opera Mobile now has pinch-to-zoom, along with its own rendering engine. Sadly the proclaimed "hardware acceleration" does not seem to be in full force as yet, with page rendering barely competing with Mozilla's Firefox and some distance behind the stock Android browser.


Speaking of the stock browser, Opera Mobile does not use the WebKit rendering engine. This can cause some display issues on the ubiquitous websites around that net that purport to be "mobile friendly" but are really only fit for viewing on an iPhone. Below you can see the rather patchy display of the reddit mobile website and our own mobile page.

snap20101108_233038 snap20101108_233137

While this is not the fault of Opera themselves, it is definitely something they could have paid more heed, considering how much of the mobile web is aimed solely at the WebKit engine.

snap20101108_233510 image

Leaving aside this rendering kerfuffle, Opera Mobile is fairly average in its performance. Websites loaded at a speed that was neither impressive nor dismaying. Panning was smooth, but it would have to be to be at all competitive. Settings are few and far between, and the UI looks slightly dated. Not a whole lot has changed since Opera Mini. There is one piece of good news, however: the YouTube mobile site plays quite well, albeit at a seriously low resolution.

If you're an Opera fanboy, of which there are a vocal few, this browser's release has probably made your day. If not, well, I suspect you will give it a shot, think "Mm, not too bad", and then go back to whatever you had before. Hit the source for a direct download.

QR code for ftp://ftp.opera.com/pub/opera/android/mobile/10.1/Opera_Mobile_10.1_beta.apk

Update: Opera Mobile is now in the Market. Here is the Market QR:

QR code for https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.opera.browser

Appbrain link.

Source: Opera Mobile 10.1 Beta APK via reddit

Brian O'Toole
Having learnt his writing techniques reading e-Books of Sherlock Holmes, Brian now spends his time /kicking, lurking, SSHing and encoding.
  • Aaron Gingrich

    Pinch to zoom and YouTube support!? It's about time Android got a browser that supported that stuff!

    • Stock

      Um, stock browser supports both, quite well, as does skyfire.

      • Matt

        That was obviously sarcastic.

  • Usman

    No hardware acceleration. Slower page rendering than the stock Webkit browser. There's nothing about this browser that's better than the stock browser.

    • Alan Tucker

      You do relise it's a BETA, of course it won't be perfect to start with.

    • http://www.pallab.net Pallab

      There's a lot that is better in this than the stock browser.
      For one, the interface is a huge improvement. Opera mobile has been designed from the ground up with tabbed browsing in mind. It has unlimited tabs, speeddials, sync (bookmarks, visited pages, speeddials), find in page, save pages and more.
      It also has better JavaScript support (see http://techie-buzz.com/mobile-news/opera-mobile-android-review-benchmark.html ). Unfortunately at the moment, it returns disappointing results in speed tests. Hopefully, they can improve on that in the future. GPU acceleration should also come in the future builds.

      • BobbyPhoenix

        I tried the syncing option. I already have Opera Mini, and once I synced, it gave me my regular bookmarks, AND my mini bookmarks. Now I have two sets of bookmarks, and I still can't reorder them. They are ABC, and not mine. Plus "turbo" is a joke. It loads the pages faster, but only because it won't load pictures. As soon as I turned it off, all the pictures downloaded. Hmm. Beta yes, good, not yet.

  • Roger loughry

    Android has had these features stock for some time, pinch to zoom for almost a year.

  • http://phone-central.com/ BEBE

    Good news for Android apps, android will win iOs with Opera ;)

  • Buba

    18 MBs?! for a browser that realy has no advantage over the stock one, except his slick UI i would at least expect A2SD :
    btw if its a slick UI you after i suggest you try Dolphin HD and not Opera, i didnt find it to be faster than the stock browser, to say the least...