Opera Mobile 10.1 Beta released for Symbian

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Opera have announced a new beta version of Opera Mobile for S60 3rd Edition and S60 5th Edition devices. Version 10.1 boasts a new rendering engine (Presto), new graphics library (Vega), and new Javascript engine (Carakan), all of which are also utilised in Opera's desktop browser. The end result is a significant boost in overall performance. Also new is geolocation support, which allows websites to serve up location specific content. The beta can be downloaded from the Opera website (visit m.opera.com/next on your phone). 

A quick run through off a subset of the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark indicates a moderate performance improvement thanks to the new Carakan engine. Assessing the new rendering engines and graphics library is harder, but subjectively the browser does feel faster. However speed restrictions (e.g. browsing on EDGE) may be the bottle neck in some instances, meaning that the improved engines will have a smaller impact.

The geolocation feature allows a server to get information about your current location and thereby display location relevant content (or use your location in a service). We tested with with the web-based Twitter client, Dabr, which uses geolocation to add a location to tweets sent from the service.

On S60 5th Edition phones, the scrolling is now fully kinetic (quasi-kinetic previously) and works as well as with newer versions of the built in Web application. In fact, the scrolling is so fast, the Opera cannot render the page quickly enough, and so a chequred background will often fly past instead.

Opera Mobile 10.1 beta running on S60 5th Edition     Sun Spider Test Results on Opera Mobile 10.1 Beta

The usual caveats about beta software apply to the new version of Opera Mobile, but, in general, for those frustrated by the limitations of the built in browser and with reasonable connection speeds (3G or WiFi) Opera Mobile remains the third party browser of choice.

David Gilson for All About Symbian, 15th July 2010