I am not here to be a party pooper but if you look at the profile of the countries where broadband is a laggard, it speaks for itself. It only reflects a huge pent up demand for a “regular internet” than a crippled version of the mobile internet.
The beauty of Opera is that it’s available for a huge range of handsets; including java based crapware that is lowly bottom of the end stuff. Agreed that most people cannot afford a smartphone (it’s an overkill), still it reflects the pattern of usage.
This is bound to create a lot of interest for advertising which surprisingly Opera has been able to keep it as a free platform. Although I have tried the beta version of their mobile browser on Android, there is nothing to write home about; I invariably fall back on the Mini version. In case I have to tether my useless Docomo GPRS to my laptop, I use an emulator which makes checking email and going through some mobile optimized web site easily.
This also means that the desktop version is going to lag in “love”; something that Opera employees deny strongly. As a company, it has one of the worst outreach towards it’s customers; try getting the contact details of the key people. They seem to have “hired” forum trolls because any word of criticism is hushed up immediately or the forum thread locked up. Their extensions are bare bones (unlike the Chromium API which is fairly stable) and does not allow interaction with the key features of the browser.
This isn’t technical debate about how the browser wars play out in the real web but in my opinion, Chromium (on Linux) is perceptibly fast. Although Firefox Beta has seen a wonderful improvement over it’s previous versions but it’s useless implementation of extensions means that a bare bones browser is as good as useless.
Ironically, this post on Opera is made using Chromium; I use Feedly (intermittently for RSS Feeds), Google Reader with a focussed tab and souped up with wonderful extensions to make my life easier when going through over 500 articles per day. I have (yes, wonderful) Thunderbird for IMAP Access; although a bit of pain to focus on one window to another but Opera has screwed (and fucked) up it’s Mail implementation.
Hope that opera now implements it’s Fastmail acquisition properly. If I can read the tea leaves properly, Opera would want to leverage itself as a “leading brand for mobile applications/other than desktop” category. Primarily reason is that internet access is now moving away (slowly and steadily) from the desktop/laptop combination. With huge profit base in the mobile applications, I see that there is no reason to innovate on the Linux/BSD/alternative platforms over a period of time.
That’s where Chromium is slowly becoming the centre stage; with a slow but steady shift to cloud computing as a platform. Mobile access is one part of the key in this game.