Opera released a major update to its Android browser today. Opera 18 for Android isn't just a minor bug fix update. Opera has taken its browser and completely revamped it for an even better tablet experience.
The Menu buttons and navigation buttons are placed where Opera thinks they will be easily accessible. They should be right where your fingers can reach them. There are several features and several improved features, too. Discover will let you find magazine and newspaper articles based on your interests. Off-Road mode is a feature that will help you stay connected in any situation where your data connection is not strong. Public Wi-Fi shouldn't be a problem anymore, and Opera's built-in data saving features can help reduce your mobile data usage too. Opera 18 handles tabbed browsing like a desktop browser now, which is a welcome addition and one my favorite features. The entire browser has been redesigned to offer an "interface that's light, clean and bright." The new Opera browser is built on a code base from Chromium 31, so it should be fast and stable.
- The Discover feature is a one-stop shop for all your news, sports and interesting feature stories. Swipe from right to left on the Speed Dial start screen to access your personal selection of fresh content from your region. Only interested in cars and cooking? It's easy to customize the news feed to fit your interests. No extra surfing necessary.
- The Off-Road mode lets you go online in rough conditions, such as a crowded, free Wi-Fi hotspot in a caf©, or saves you money while roaming with your data plan. Off-Road mode compresses the data traffic to minimize data usage.
- Speed Dial, an Opera innovation, makes the perfect companion for any tablet. Large, square buttons allow you easily to add, organize and access your most frequently visited webpages.
Opera made the jump to a WebKit based browser earlier this year. Before that, it was built on the Presto engine. Switching to the WebKit engine allowed Opera to compete with Chrome and Safari. Opera has played a huge part in building the modern web browser, as we know it today. The company doesn't always get the credit it deserves. Features like the Speed Dial home page, and server-side rendering to conserve mobile data, were pioneered by Opera and later adopted by other companies for their browsers.