This is a guest post by Andy Groaning. If you would like to contribute too, please leave us a message via the contact us page.
As a European project, actually originating with the Norwegian telecommunications giant Telenor, Opera was developed in the mid nineties primarily for Windows based operating systems. The first wide release was in 1996 and was trialware, which remained in some way or another a program that was commercially traded.
In 2005 the Opera became a free browser and since then gained immense popularity, mainly in the Russian Federation, where it ranks #2 and in some former USSR countries, such as Ukraine or Georgia, where it ranks #1.
Yes, it is. It is widely known that tabbed browsing, mouse gestures, integrated download accelerator and manager as well as an integrated email client were first seen on Opera versions and later copied by other browsers.
No, Opera is available as a download for pretty much anything that connects to the internet. Handheld devices, tablet computers, any PCs, any mobile phones and handheld devices, no matter what OS they run, there is an Opera version available. Even abandoned systems have still support, including Windows 95 and 98 as well as the largely forgotten Me. There are versions available for the almost abandoned Sony Ericsson platform, Symbian, as well as Apple’s iPad, television set-top boxes, but also Wii and Nintendo DS game consoles.
Opera started with development when the Web was still dependant on interfaces provided by AOL or Netscape and the likes. Not many remember that Firefox came almost a decade after Opera and that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is, besides Netscape Navigator, the only dedicated Internet browser with a history longer than fifteen years. All other interfaces are long since abandoned and gone, including the immensely popular AOL platform, or less huge CompuServe and Prodigy.
People who use Opera swear by it, they profess that there is no other browser providing the same ease of use and speed, versatility and comfort, quality and ingenuity. Nevertheless, except a few exceptions, Opera’s popularity is limited to mobile phones and handheld devices. Finding a reason is not as easy as it seems.
Many people took notice of Opera when Internet boomed in late nineties, but were discouraged by the initial trialware policy and later by the very annoying advertising. It was such advertising that ruined the popularity of AOL and it most certainly did not help Opera. It took Opera until 2005 to abandon the commercial part of the software and offer Opera for free. Most customers were already firmly behind Internet Explorer or very interested in the new contender Firefox.
Opera was largely ignored, the bad publicity keeping the customers at bay even to this date. The second big minus for Opera was that it was a Scandinavian, European product and received no publicity whatsoever from any of the big computer publications, particularly the US based ones, until recently. Since 2005, Opera has been touted as the best browser and received good publicity mainly by the word of mouth. Unfortunately, the unique features of Opera were already picked up by the competition by the time people took notice and the reluctance to switch remained intact.
This is a guest post by Andy Goaning who writes for the Bravofiles website on all things driver updates and software downloads.