Opera to Develop a Browser for Pre's webOS

The company thinks it may offer quick access to small pieces of information

By on January 12th, 2009 09:50 GMT
Phillip Grønvold, Opera business development manager, is reported to have stated on Saturday that Opera Software was considering starting to design a new Web browser for the recently unveiled Palm Pre's webOS. Although this may sound rather odd to some, it seems that Grønvold thinks that Opera's OBML (Opera Binary Markup Language) would be able to make some noticeable changes.

As many of you might already know, Opera Mini, the browser released for lower-end phones, is basically built around OBML. The language compresses data on a server before bringing it to the phone, which makes the loading process of the web pages faster. Moreover, the pages are also reformatted to display better on the small, narrow screens featured by mobile phones.

Palm Pre's webOS features as default browser WebKit a desktop-style browser, which could mean that an Opera application would be able to offer a quick way to send down smaller pieces of information on the Pre.

Currently, Opera Mini and Opera Mobile browsers are included in almost all handsets on the market. Yet, there are some carriers that banned the applications, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile being two of the companies that wouldn't have Opera on some of their devices. Opera and Sprint maintain a close relationship, as the company launched the browser on its best-selling Samsung Instinct, and the latter is also reported to be Pre's initial carrier.

One thing that might prevent Opera from developing a browser for webOS is the system's SDK, of which Palm said too little. The company announced that a mixture of HTML, CSS, and a sort of turbocharged Javascript has been used, along with special APIs meant to allow programmers to access Pre's databases and hardware features. Grønvold stated that the new webOS had just started to be explored and that it was uncertain whether its SDK would allow for an OBML interpreter to be written.

At CES, Phillip Grønvold demonstrated Opera on the Nintendo DSi, the latest Japan-only gaming system from Nintendo. The browser is reported to move quite well on DSi, although the device only has a 133MHz processor. Even so, the browser was able to show a sort of Potemkin Flash, at least displaying the images from the beginning of Flash animations and not the “X” most mobile browsers would display.

We might see Opera along with DSi in the US sometime this year.
Opera considers a browser for Pre's webOS
   Opera considers a browser for Pre's webOS
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