Opera software offers several different versions of its web browsers. There’s the desktop version, which is a full featured browser that offers bookmark and settings synchronization, tabs, and support for web standards. There’s the popular Opera Mini app for mobile phones which offers speedy page load times thanks to remote server compression technology that pre-processes data before sending it to your phone. And then there’s Opera Mobile, which sort of rests in between.
Opera Mobile is a native browser for mobile devices which renders web sites using your phone’s hardware, but which offers many of the small-screen optimizations available in Opera Mini.
So far Opera Mobile has only been available for Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 devices. But Opera plans to release a new version for Android phones within a month.
The Android browser will support pinch to zoom and hardware acceleration. The hardware acceleration will help speed up page navigation and helps enable the pinch to zoom feature. Pinch to zoom may not exactly be revolutionary — it’s been available in Safari for the iPhone since day one, and the default Android browser has supported it for ages. But Opera Mini for Android currently only has two zoom levels: all the way in or all the way out. Opera Mobile will let you pinch the screen to zoom in and out as much or as little as you like.
Opera has been working on Opera Mobile for Android since at least February, but it’s good to know it should finally be available in the Android Market soon.