Clearly not wishing to be outdone by the work going on over at the Mozilla Foundation, Opera brought its latest builds to the table yesterday with a new beta release for Opera Mobile – Opera Mini's bigger brother.
According to Download.com
, this latest beta includes new code for Windows Mobile smartphones and a brand-new first-ever beta for Symbian UIQ handsets. Additionally, an alpha version for Symbian S60 handsets is available – but only as part of the Opera Widgets software development kit.
The main addition to the code base is support for Opera Widgets – the company's answer to Firefox plugins. If you're running the beta on a Windows Mobile or Symbian UIQ system, you'll get immediate access to five widgets to test the system out with: a Twitter client, the AccuWeather forecasting system, a simple clock, a shopping list application, and a Tetris-alike called Bubbles. If you're brave enough to try out the S60 alpha build, you'll get access to everything except the Twitter client.
In order to add widgets to your installation, the software includes a shortcut to a web site containing widgets known to be compatible with your particular platform. Whether this will, in time, turn into an iPhone-esque App Store or will stay as a free Firefox Add-Ons-alike remains to be seen.
Widgets aren't the only changes to the browser code, either: the new beta offers faster page load times that the original, and developers get a chance to play with Opera Widgets thanks to a new software development kit which includes the Dragonfly debugger. In order to encourage hackers to have a play, Opera is even funding a competition
to see who can develop the best widget with a $5,000 prize to the winner and $2,000 to second-place.
If you fancy having a play with the browser, or even want to try your luck at the developer prize pot, you can download the latest build from Opera's web site
Tempted by the thought of a fully-fledged Opera on your Symbian handset, or are you still waiting to see what Firefox Mobile will have to offer? Share your thoughts over in the forums