The newest versions of Opera's Web browsers will allow both mobile devices and PCs to share a common set of bookmarks.
The Norwegian browser company is set to release beta versions of Opera 9.5 and Opera Mini 4 later Thursday at a rock show, of all things, in San Francisco on the last day of the CTIA conference. The company is most excited about a new feature called Opera Link, Jon von Tetzchner, co-founder and CEO of Opera, said in an interview just a block away from the Moscone Center and the CTIA crowds. Opera Link is a service that lets Web surfers access a common set of bookmarks from both a mobile phone running Opera Mini and a PC running Opera 9.5.
Opera is somewhat unique among its competitors in the browser world in that it has been focused on mobile devices for a very long time. Mozilla recently announced plans to develop a browser with smartphones in mind and Microsoft has Internet Explorer Mobile, but Opera is a popular browsing choice for smartphones running Symbian, the dominant operating system in this arena.
The idea behind Opera's mobile products is similar to how Apple CEO Steve Jobs has sold the iPhone: smartphone users will no longer endure a compromised Internet experience on their phones, von Tetzchner said. Opera has versions of its browser for PCs, smartphones, and regular mobile phones (as well as Nintendo's Wii) and it's very focused on the development of smartphones into full-fledge Internet-capable computers.
"Things are moving in our direction," von Tetzchner said. "The Web is changing, and it's moving in our direction as people are using it on more and more devices, and people are looking at alternatives on the desktop." Application development on both PCs and mobile devices is increasingly shifting toward Web-based applications that can run on any device through the browser, and although that's still a pretty fragmented notion in the smartphone world, it's an interesting time for a company like Opera.
Opera Link aims to help out mobile Web surfers who want to check out all the Web pages they usually access from their PC, but who don't want to type long URLs on small keyboards or store a ton of bookmarks on a small device. Unlike social bookmarking services like Delicio.us, you don't have to access a separate Web page to get to your bookmarks. You have to sign up for the Opera Link service, which stores bookmarks in a central place that can be directly accessed by your Opera browser either on your PC or mobile phone.
I haven't had a chance to test the service, so let us know if it works as seamlessly as the company claims. Opera is throwing a launch party for Opera Link as well as the new betas at San Francisco's Rickshaw Stop, described by BPM Magazine as "Your uncle's rec room where rock kids and electronic kids come together in fabulously dressed debauchery," on the club's Web site. Whatever that means.