Opera gets ready for its Android close-up

Posted by Mark Raby

Android's built-in Web browser, once described by Google as "Chrome Lite," gets the job done but it's not filled with a whole bunch of snazzy features. Opera is now looking to add some class to that arena.

Opera Mobile for Android will be coming to the Android Market within the next month, the company confirmed in a blog post. It promises to bring a more powerful way to browse the Net.

"Navigating a page will be faster than ever, and the improvements to the UI will be momentous. All this is made possible by taking full advantage of the power available on your phone," reads the blog post.

In the highly closed market of Internet browsers, Opera has taken a different approach to earning its keep. It focuses on powering Web access on specialized devices. It runs the Web browsers that are available on Nintendo's Wii and DS systems, and has a strong presence in the world of mobile phones.

A full Opera browser for PCs does exist but that is only a small part of the Opera story. Android users can already access a basic version of Opera, but the new release packs in much more power.

Also being added to the new Android software is a feature called "Pinch to Zoom," which will give users more control over how they want to view a Web page by fluidly zooming in and out of specific sections of the page.

The Android version of Opera will be compatible with every installment of the mobile platform, up to and including Android 2.2.