Once upon a time the Internet browser was just an application for browsing web pages and downloading files. Occasionally you might come across an animated gif that would make you smile, but that was probably about it. Since the inception of Flash Player and other technologies like it, however, the idea of what a web browser should be has changed significantly, and so too has the code behind that browser. Modern web browsers do so much more than just browse web sites; they play games, movies, contain interactive apps themselves and even sometimes run entire operating systems. Sometime in the latter half of last year Chrome for Android and Firefox for Android both received updates featuring a new type of technology that has been on desktop browsers for some time called WebRTC. In a nutshell WebRTC is an open-source project that drives both audio and video through your web browser, in this case on your phone, and basically allows you to use your browser to call anyone anywhere. There’s also video calling from places like appear.in that’ll let you get some, ahem, face time with your friends all without having to leave the comfort of your browser.
That’s not all in this latest update though, as Opera continues to tweak its mobile browser to compete with the best in the industry. Opera Max is still a huge feature that Opera popularized some time ago which is essentially a way to save bandwidth by having a remote server process web pages and send them to you in a compressed format. This is great for those of us with data caps that like to browse the web quite a bit. There’s also a new HTML5 vibration API addition to Opera, presumably for things like gaming and other applications that require tactile feedback from your phone. The download manager has seen improvements and there’s of course the usual bug fixes and stability improvements that come with nearly every app update out there. Overall this is a pretty significant update if you’re planning on doing some video calling from your browser and don’t want to sign up with or install something like Skype.