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Opera 11 set for Firefoxy extensions

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The Opera Mobile browser will be available in Google's Android Marketplace within the next month and the upcoming Opera 11 desktop browser will offer Firefox-like extensions.

Opera chief development officer Christen Krogh showed the new Opera Mobile Android browser this morning at a company press event in Oslo. The Norwegian outfit already offers an Android incarnation of its low-bandwidth mobile browser, Opera Mini, but it has yet to introduce its full-fledged mobile browser on Google's kinda open source OS.

Opera Mobile for Android will handle full pinch-and-zoom gestures and offer support for graphics hardware acceleration. The current version of Opera Mobile offers only a limited zoom tool.

Opera Mini – which officially debuted on Android in July – taps into Opera proxy servers that intercept and compress web pages before sending them down to the client. This speeds download times, making the browser suitable for slower web connections and lower amounts of memory. Opera Mobile can make use of the same proxy servers, but it can also access web servers directly, providing unfettered access to the net.

According to Krogh, Opera Mobile for Android is one of the most common requests among Opera users. During his presentation, Krogh also demonstrated an incarnation of Opera Mini that offers full pinch and zoom gestures, another frequent request.

Krogh then revealed that on the desktop, Opera 11 will offer extensions, a way for third-party developers to tack additional tools onto the browser. The company is already running extensions in an alpha version of the browser, but this is not yet publicly available. The alpha will be available "soon" here.

Following Krogh's speech, Chief technology officer Håkon Wium Lie said that extensions are "ripe" for standardization, and Opera 11's extensions will be based on the W3C Widget specifications. Developers will be able to create extensions using open standards such as HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript and supported APIs. The company has also "tried to make it easy" to port extensions from other browser platforms such as Firefox and Chrome. ®

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