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Opera's phone browser goes live on the S-E P800

By Jordan Holt and Ewan Spence

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Review During the months and months of build up to the release of the Sony Ericsson P800, quite a few reviews of the early pre release devices stated that it would include the Opera browser in the final release. Many people, myself included, were relieved to hear this - finally, a mobile device that will have full support for frames, great I thought I'd finally be able to view my Hotmail account without going through the troublesome and tedious mobile msn WAP site, which never really worked for me that well.

But as time went by and more and more reviews came out we stopped hearing about Opera in the reviews, and it became apparent that it wasn?t to be included in the final product. This didn't make me think twice about buying a P800, but I was disappointed all the same.

Sony-Ericsson however has now made the browser available for free download, and this is what you can expect:

Support

Opera smartphone edition is currently based on Version 6. The most significant specifications of this engine are:
· HTML 4.1
· ECMA ? 262 2ND Edition
· ECMA ? 262 3RD Edition / Javascript 1.5
· XHTML 1.0/1.1
· XHTML Basic
· XHTML MP
· CSS1
· CSS2
· CSS MP
· WML 3.1
· WCSS
· HTTP 1.0/1.1
· SSL v3.0/TLS
· Gif, Animated Gif, JPEG, WBMP, PNG
· Unicode (UTF-16)
· Legacy Encodings

All this may sound very impressive, but what does it actually mean to the end user?

First Impressions

I have to say, I didn't exactly know what to expect from Opera, whether it was going to be a completely different experience to the standard browser. One of the first things I did notice upon opening the browser is the way they have kept all the visual features of the regular browser, but added a few extra options.

The best for me of these new options is the 'Fit to Page' one under the Edit menu; this makes mobile web viewing significantly easier than browsing with the regular one where you have to use the horizontal scroll all the time and have to wait for the page to catch up with your scrolling speed.

Further options include: Use cookies, cache size, load all images, enable animations, show frames as (All Frames, List frames, No frames) amongst others, one of the ones that interested me in the preferences menu was the 'Plug-ins' box, and reading the Service provider jargon there are plans for a Netscape, Flash, PDF and ?Streaming Video Plug-in. With those added would become a complete browser for me... a long way from the Webviewer style browser I'm used to on a mobile.

Frames 
This for me was another important point to this browser, the fact that it could support frames. Although having said that they are supported, sites like the Sony-Ericsson site, which has a total of 5 frames in the one view, aren't really that useable due to the scroll bars all over the page, but I suppose it's to be expected from a small screen. The overall layout of the scroll bars and the way the frames are displayed is very impressive. 

Other features

As well as standard HTML viewing Opera also supports many other aspects. The first one can seem useful, but is also one of the things that I hate about the web. Opera supports windows too, which means you get the pop-up ads that you also get on a PC, but these can be quickly closed just as you would on a regular browser by selecting the window and hitting the X.
The browser also has the WAP feature of the regular browser; I would say that there isn't a great deal of difference between the two in use, although I'm sure there are some technical differences. It is still very fast and easy to navigate your way around the AAS wap site.

The other useful feature for me is the fact that it supports FTP:// whilst you can?t edit anything from within the structure one thought I had was to store documents, .SIS files etc. In you webspace and be able to download them as you needed them. So in that respect it could act like a portable hard drive, also the fact that you could stream MP4 movies from your own person webspace too.

Conclusion

I don't want to continue waffling on and boring you all, but I would like to say I think this is an application that every single P800 owner should have. Even if you don?t use the existing browser so much, you should still have this browser as it?s a lot more versatile then the current one.

Here are some of the things that make Opera such a great browser
· Zooming
· Toggle Small Screen Rendering
· Toggle Images
· Saving of Images and Pages
· File Download
· Multi-Task Windows
· Full Screen View
· Landscape Mode
· Search Page
· Frame Support
· FTP access
Score -   90% (Mega App)
Size of install ?   1808kb
Data of release ?  Out Now
Price - Free

Download here.

This review first appeared on All About Symbian, here. The authors can be contacted at jordanholt@allaboutsymbian.com and ewan@allaboutsymbian.com.

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