While this week’s Mobile World Congress in Spain hasn’t exactly seen any seen any releases to rival Google Nexus One announcement or even come close to being as significant as Apple’s announcement of the iPad, but still there has been no shortage of news. This week Opera Mini, which remains the world’s most popular mobile browser, reached a new milestone.
According to the company, more than 50 million people are now using the Opera Mini browser, and as mobile overtakes the PC, it could eventually become one of the most popular ways for users to surf the Web. Research firm Gartner noted this week that mobile phones could overtake the PC as the most common way to access the Web by 2013, meaning that mobile browsers will be more popular than Web developers.
“Our original goal with Opera Mini was to make the Web available to everyone, regardless of their network or mobile phone. Fifty million active monthly users is a great start,” says Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera. “Opera’s innovative nature and its popularity among users will help us make the mobile Web even more accessible and attractive to more people across the world.”
There is an old saying about the Opera being over, and in this case if the fat lady sings we think it could very well be when everyone goes not to the opera, but online with it – at least when they’re mobile.
Other Highlights from the MWC:
Verizon Wireless and Skype made it official, and announced that this March the Skype Voice over IP app would be available on nine of Verizon’s 3G smartphones including BlackBerry and Android handsets. The Skype Mobile app will allow users to make and recieve unlimited free calls to other Skype users, and further offer affordable international calls from Verizon mobile handsets. Unlimited Skype calling plans will also be available.
T-Mobile announced that next month it will release the webConnect Rocket USB Laptop Stick, which will let users go online wirelessly without having to be in a traditional Wi-Fi location. It will debut in Philadelphia and allow users to get online access to the HSPA service with a “home broadband-like” experience. The company will also be releasing the HTC HD2 mobile handset this spring. It will utilize the Qualcomm 1GHz Snapdragon processor and feature a 4.3-inmch display. It will be available this spring.
Chinese handset maker ZTE hopes to soon be where Samsung and LG are today, and according to news reports the company is in talks with Spring to roll out WiMAX handsets this year. While that is a major move, and there is a lot of room in the mobile space for new players – consider that HTC was a small player just a few years ago – it will be something to watch, especially as established players are reaffirming that they’re should be ruled out just yet.
Among the bigger players in the arena not to count out, Motorola announced that it would be solidly refocused on mobile for 2010.