Opera has released updated versions of its mobile browsers smartphones. Opera Mobile 11  is available for Android, Symbian, and MeeGo, while Opera Mini 6 supports BlackBerry as well.

So what’s new in Opera Mobile 11 and Mini 6… and why does the company offer two browsers? In a nutshell, Opera Mobile is a full-featured browser with its own rendering engine and support for JavaScript, HTMl5. Opera Mini looks a lot like Opera Mobile, but it’s designed for phones with slower processors or users with limited bandwidth. Opera Mini relies on remote servers to compress some data before sending it to your phone for speedier browsing on less powerful devices.

Opera 11 packs a whole slew of updates. The Android version of the app now supports Adobe Flash and has a new user interface for tablets with large displays. The browser also features improved text reflowing when you zoom in, faster panning and zooming, and faster JavaScript performance. The browser also now supports Archos tablets and the Motorola Atrix 4G smartphone.

Unfortunately every time I tried to view a page with Flash content, Opera Mobile 11 crashed on my Google Nexus One. The safest thing to do for now might be to keep the default setting of click-to-load Adobe Flash.

Opera Mini 6 adds support for pinch to zoom, improved panning and zooming, and a tablet-friendly user interface. You can also now open links in the background and share web pages. Opera says the startup time has also been shortened.

Both browsers also support key Opera features including a Speed Dial page with thumbnail icons for your favorite web sites, an excellent tab switching user interface, and support for Opera Link which lets you synchronize your data between the desktop and mobile versions of the Opera browser.

You can download Opera Mobile 11 and Opera Mini 6 from opera.com/mobile or by visiting m.opera.com with your phone’s browser.

Opera Mini and Opera Mobile are also available from the Android Market.

Opera is also officially dropping support for Windows Mobile with the latest release, which doesn’t come as a huge surprise… but it’s a bit disappointing for folks still using phones with Microsoft’s older operating system. The company may eventually offer Windows Phone 7 apps. Opera Mini 5.1 and Opera Mobile 10 are still available for Windows Mobile.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...