Opera beefs Android with 'open' widget platform
Norwegian-browser lovers storm Opera 11 extension hoard
Opera has rolled out a widget platform for Google's Android operating system that supports the WAC specification, a multi-mobile-giant effort to create a common set of application APIs across handheld devices.
On Wednesday, the Norwegian browser maker introduced an alpha version of its Android widget runtime, hoping to jump start application development. The runtime offers APIs based on the WAC (Wholesale Applications Community) 1.0 specification, which was finalized in October. The WAC alliance includes many of the world's leading mobile operators and handset makers, including Vodafone, Verizon, China Mobile, Telenor, Telefonica, AT&T, and Samsung.
The alpha build runs on Android 2.1 or later, and its WAC APIs offer access to device hardware, including accelerometer, GPS, and camera. The build preinstalls a handful of widgets, and Opera provides a tutorial for developers.
This week, Opera also announced that since the December 16 debut of Opera 11 – the first version of the company's destop browser to support extensions – users have downloaded over one million of them. That's one million extensions in four days, and the company says that developers are uploading 20 to 30 new extensions each day. The most popular extension includes, yes, an ad blocker: NoAds.
In addition to offering Firefox-like extensions, Opera 11 includes a new interface for better organizing tabs. The new approach is dubbed "tab stacking". You can stack tabs atop each other like sheets of paper on a desk, and when you mouse over a stack, you get a preview window showing you what's beneath. Clicking on a tab preview brings up the tab itself.
With Opera 11, you can also set plug-ins to load only when they're needed – with Opera claiming this can provide as much as a 30 per cent performance improvement – and both extensions and Opera Unite applications are now updated automatically through Opera's standard update mechanism. There's even a revamped address bar. And if you download Opera 11, you will win the respect of countless Reg readers across the globe. Until you say something stupid. ®
Most excellent it is too.
Opera 11 is easilly the best browser in the market, why? Because it's got the best performance, it's got the best features, it's got the best track record on security, it's got the best looks.
Sure it's got a small marketshare, but then it's not backed by Microsoft/Google/Apple/Mozilla, the first 2 of them having bottomless reserves of cash and media influence to push their products, and in the case of Microsoft/Apple bundle/force their products on users.
Anyone that calls themselves web savvy will be using Opera. End of....
Now all they have to do is port the widget engine to their Mini platform and enable millions of feature phones to run widget apps too.
jolly good show
I got the update of this yesterday, no one can sneak out a browser update like Opera!
Fantastic additions - Tab Stacking beats Firefox's Tab Candy hands down as a tab organisation tool, the new gesture indicator is useful (I'd forgotten about the gesture for opening a background tab) and the extensions have already given me several less reasons to use Firefox.
Fingers crossed, Opera seems to be getting along with my company's proxy authentication now too.