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Thinking outside the Opera box

Von Tetzchner sings to El Reg

Build a business case: developing custom apps

There are some interesting applications on Wii - particularly the Orb hack - where people take advantage of the browser to play their own music and view their own the photos. That's using the browser as plumbing rather than platform...

There is a natural direction with more things being connected - Orb is a very interesting example of that. With services like YouTube, you are now using your TV. This is one of the biggest installations of internet TV in the world now, Wii. People use it to browse around - but also to download small videos from YouTube - it becomes nautral to do that. Natural. It's a great showcase, because we have by far the best browser you can get on TV today.

Is Opera Mobile stagnating? It doesn't have the focus of Mini, it seems.

Stagnating? No.

What's happening is there's a new version in the works based on Opera 9. On Opera Mobile 4.0, we're introducing desktop mode and zooming. The desktop mode is based on a new kernel. The Opera 8 browsers are based on what we call Core 1, while Opera 9 is based on Core 2. There are significant changes under the hood.

We see Mini and Mobile as complimentary products. Mini runs on Java, and there's a Brew version in the works that I'm very enthusiastic about, it's going to be great. We went away from doing just smartphones to BREW, P2K Motorola and many other phones.

Aren't widgets are a security nightmare?

When you start to combine web code with the rest of the system you're opening yourself up to issues - you have to watch what you're doing there. It is difficult, but everyone wants to see power in these devices; you have to make some APIs available to access the underlying system. But we definitely don't want to be doing something like ActiveX.

One has to be realistic, but there isn't a single app that hasn't had a security issue at one time or another; again, I do believe it's the safest way to do things. There are so many things you'd like to do, and it's better to do it web-based than natively. There's going to be more and more service components in there; more and more applications are web-based. Whether you call it a service or not isn't neccessary, but it's combing communication to a server and there's a clear trend to web-based solutions and it started with the web being made, and is being intensified with apps Google is making. ®

Jon von Tetzchner co-developed the original Opera browser while working in the labs of Norwegian telco Telenor. He founded the company in 1995, and took it public in 2004.

Bootnote

Out of curiosity, I asked Jon what was his mobile browser of choice. He said nothing could quite match the usefulness of his favourite phone: the Nokia 9210. Not a member of the Cargo Cult then. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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