While far from the biggest player in the browser wars, Opera has been around in one form or another since the mid-90s. Hoping to expand its presence, the company announced in February their plans to ditch the Presto framework. Shortly after, the Opera Beta app was released, leaping over to the WebKit rendering engine. Today marks another big milestone for Opera, they are losing the “Beta” tag on their Android app.
So what’s new now that the app is out of the awkward Beta phase? Mostly it is about speed improvements and bug fixes, but there are also some changes such as the option to toggle the navigation bar from the top or bottom of the screen and the ability to wrap text when zooming.
For those who have yet to play around with the Beta, you’ll also find quite a few other exciting features. The two biggest of these are Discover and Off-Road. The former of these features is designed to recommend content for users and is also populated with content from user-chosen categories.
As for Off-Road, it connects you to the web through a proxy. Using the Opera proxy, the data is compressed before it is sent to your mobile device, which means it should play nicely with slower, unreliable networks.
This is likely just the beginning for Opera, who already confirms that they will be making the move to Google’s WebKit fork Blink in the near-future. The big question is whether these changes will be enough for Opera’s browser to truly take on rivals such as Chrome and Firefox.
For those that have yet to try it out, you can grab it now through Google Play. Readers that have already tried it out, what do you think?