Opera has been talking up its new browser entry into the Android world for a few months now, with a beta version hitting the scene back in March. That beta has now graduated into a final release, which just landed in the Play Store this morning. The overall appearance and functionality seems to be largely unchanged from the beta, so users who have been testing out the browser should feel right at home with the first stable offering (which is a completely new listing in the Play Store, not an update to the beta).
This is a much-needed leap for Opera, as it forgoes the Presto rendering engine in lieu of Webkit (a la Chrome), which is arguably much faster. As with the beta, Opera Browser also features other time-saving features, such as Off-Road Mode, which utilizes the compression technology from Opera Mini to use less bandwidth and provide a speed boost in less-than-perfect coverage areas.
Naturally, it packs other popular Opera features – like the Speed Dial new tab page – along with a new Discover option that curates some of the hottest content on the web for your consumption.
While I won't personally be ditching Chrome (Beta) as my primary browser anytime soon, Opera will definitely have a permanent residence on my phones for those times when network coverage isn't quite what it needs to be. It's a free download in the Play Store, so it's worth checking out at the very least.
It's worth noting that the browser isn't available on tablets at the moment, which is likely just a mistakes in the listing's manifest file since the beta version was tablet-compatible and there are clearly screenshots from a Nexus 7 in the Play Store. We expect Opera will update accordingly shortly.