Revolutionizing the Mobile Web
Date: Thursday , February 02, 2012
In a candid chat with siliconindia, Håkon Wium Lie, CTO, Opera Software talks about the company's future dockets and their operations in India.
Opera started out in 1994 as a research project within Telenor, Norway’s leading telecom. In less than a year, Opera Software ASA was launched as an independent development company. Today, Opera is headquartered in Norway, with over 700 employees in offices around the world and over 100 million opera users. Opera’s founders and employees believe that access to the Web is a universal right. This has guided the company to adapt various platforms, operating systems and embedded Internet products which include Mac, PC and Linux computers, tablets, mobile phones and PDAs and various game consoles and other devices.
There are about 150 million people who use Opera Software worldwide and India ranks second just one step behind Russia which bags the first place. Opera offers a browsing experience to people who may not have access to a Desktop or a laptop, in a mobile phone as it is extensively used worldwide. By using Opera mini they could get a similar experience of the Web in a mobile phone at a very low price. So the plan now and always will be to provide this platform to the next millions of people with the software that can give them the best internet experience.
Mobile landscape today
The mobile market looks very promising. Roughly speaking, rate at which the mobile phones are sold outnumber the computers being sold at a big ratio. Hence, our hopes of increasing the number of users remain strong in India and rest of the world. We at Opera make sure that we are technologically updated by creating and writing the perfect web application that customers feel comfortable with. The three standards we use are HTML, CSF and Java Script. These specifications form the platform for our web application. By using these specifications, we can actually write applications that give users the same experience as they have in more proprietary applications that have been built recently. For example, in the web apps, we can give the location of the person viewing. In some capabilities of the mobile web continue to increase; we can trade very compelling applications.
What is brewing in Opera?
One thing we are working on right now is just in a demo stage and it is the "Opera Reader". It is a technology that reads Web pages which has a typical scroll bar on the right hand side and splits them up into pages. This is built to navigate from one page to another not by using the scroll bar but by using the simple method of sliding the finger to flip the page. For example, on a tablet, we can use a finger to navigate pages or if we are using a TV we could just use the remote control to change pages by pressing the next page button. We at Opera plan to keep it very natural as we have in the newspapers and books. We think it is always better to have a technology which does not use the scroll bar but uses pages instead.
Opera Reader - the new roll out
We are launching the "Opera TV Store" in which we enable browser suites on TVs. We have browsers on computers, on Tablets and Mobile phones. We believe that there will be compelling ways to get Web content in TVs and the Opera TV Store is being launched in order to offer internet content for TV users so that they purchase apps, content etc, through their TV sets. We work with TV vendors like Philips and Sony in order to install a browser into their devices (TVs). These make the TVs smarter.
Association with the Mobile development community
Well, we are working hard to support the developer’s community. We have people on the ground in India and other places as well to make sure that the developers have the right kind of information in order to create great content for not only for our browsers but also for all other browsers. We also help them in solving the problems if they face with any by debugging the code, provide them with the tools that are required for debugging etc., it’s a big part of our effort these days that we not only provide the product but also provide with services that support our product.
Challenges On the Road
One challenge that we face is that we are trying to develop all platforms. The other browsers like Microsoft that supports the windows platform, Apple that supports Mac and Google has its own platform. We don’t have our own platform. We try to support all the platforms regardless of what it is, games, laptops, desktops etc., So that’s the challenge for us to be up to date on all these platforms and to integrate all available resources.
I would like to say that Web will be the one platform that has everything that a human needs. Everything that is produced by humanity and Web will become the master format for our knowledge. For example, if we need something to be printed, it will be printed from the web. And hence we need a choice of many browsers by which users makes his choice of picking the best one that is suited for him/her. We hope that we continue to give our services the way it is right now and also hope to increase the number of users in India.