When touting the mobile version of Apple’s Safari browser, included on the iPhone and iPod Touch, Steve Jobs is fond of saying: this isn’t the “baby” web, this is the real thing. For the first time on a mobile device, users can browse the full web just as they do on their desktops, says Jobs.
Of course, such a claim is disingenuous on a number of counts: Apple wasn’t the first to ship a full web browser on a mobile, and Safari on the iPhone doesn’t support Flash, negating access to most online video and lots of other multimedia content. However, there’s no disputing that Apple has raised the bar of what we should expect from a mobile browser, in terms of speed, usability and access.
Proving that competition is good, Opera announced a major upgrade to its Symbian, Windows Mobile and Linux-native “Opera Mobile” browser, which is currently utilized by handset manufacturers and mobile operators such HTC, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, T-Mobile, and others. The press release for Opera Mobile 9.5 boasts: “Faster speed, new interface and Opera Widgets bring users closer to a full desktop experience.”
Part of the new UI is a feature called “Opera Zoom”, providing the ability to pan and zoom in on content, in iPhone-like fashion. However, on paper at least (since we’ve yet to test the new version), Opera Mobile outmaneuvers Apple’s mobile browser on a number of fronts: copy and paste, a password manager, Flash Lite 3 support (for watching Flash Video e.g. YouTube) and the ability to save web pages for offline access. Although, you’ll need to have a phone powerful enough to support all of these features.
Here’s the full list (and watch a video demo after the jump):
- Intuitive user interface
- Tabbed browsing
- Improved text wrap
- Page overview, zooming and panning
- Landscape mode
- Save Web page for future offline access
- Call phone number from Web page
- Send link as SMS/MMS
- Send image as SMS/MMS
- Small Screen Rendering™
- Password manager
- Web address input auto-completion
- History and bookmarks
- Copy text
- Opera Widgets