Opera says users want a change and promises Opera 49 will make desktop browsing the same as using a mobile
Opera has released a new stable version of its ‘Reborn’ browser – Opera 49 – promising it will allow desktop users to use the Internet as if they were using a smartphone by adding support for more chat services, virtual reality (VR) and ‘selfie’ shots.
The first version of ‘Opera Reborn’, based on the Neon concept browser, was released in May with the company claiming that desktop browsers hadn’t kept up with how users interact with the web on their mobile devices.
Reborn would achieve this, it claimed, by integrating popular instant messenger services and instant editing tools which don’t require the user to leave the browser.
“We believe today’s browsers are getting dated, and that there is a strong need to rethink and modernize the browser,” said Krystian Kolondra, head of the Opera browser.
“This year, we first launched a concept browser, Opera Neon, which truly captured people’s imagination of what a browser can become. Now we continue to refine and implement novel concepts as part of the project codenamed Reborn.”
A version of the VR player was included in the developer version of Opera 49 but is now available to all users, supporting HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and OpenVR headsets. Mozilla has also added VR support for the Firefox browser.
Side-by-side chat now supports Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram and VK without the need to install an extension and an easy set up menu provides shortcuts for settings and cosmetic changes such as themes.
Opera is stressing the ease at which bookmarks and settings can be imported from another browser should be no impediment to adoption. Indeed, it claims the number of monthly users has increased by a quarter over the past year, with increases of 65 percent in the UK and 50 percent in the UK.
According to figures from NetMarketShare, Opera controls 1.23 percent of the desktop browser market. By way of comaprison, Safari has 4.4 percent and Microsoft Edge has 4.58 percent.