In a surprise move Microsoft has decided to equip its feature phones with Opera Mini rather than the company’s own Internet Explorer browser.
The agreement applies to mobile phones based on the Series 30+, Series 40 and Asha software platforms and while it might seem an odd decision it makes some sense. Currently these phones use Nokia’s Xpress browser rather than Internet Explorer anyway and Opera Mini is a lightweight, versatile browser which should be a good fit for low powered feature phones.
Any new devices will come with Opera Mini pre-installed while existing users will be encouraged to upgrade to it. It’s not clear what this means for the future of Xpress, but presumably support for it is coming to an end.
“This is a great opportunity to spread the benefits of Opera Mini to millions more consumers in our core markets. There are still massive numbers of people who have not moved to smartphones, but Opera Mini can provide them with an amazing browsing experience right now,” said Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software.
So if you’re running a Windows Phone handset don’t expect a change in browser any time soon, as this is specifically aimed at feature phones.
Having said that Opera itself is a popular browser on smartphones too. Currently there are around 250 million Opera Mini users, with over 100 million of those using Android and for higher end phones there’s also a full version of Opera available.
So if you’re on an Android or iOS handset and want to give Opera a try there’s nothing stopping you, but despite Microsoft’s agreement with the company there aren’t any versions of Opera available for Windows Phone right now.
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