Opera to shift its browsers to WebKit as it moves towards standards compliance

Daniel Bader

February 13, 2013 2:49pm

As we told you last month, Opera will unveil a new browser, Ice, that adopts the popular WebKit rendering engine for most of its browsers.

The company will reveal its Android version at Mobile World Congress, and claims that it will contribute to both the WebKit project and Google’s Chromium, which will power its desktop app.

“To provide a leading browser on Android and iOS, this year Opera will make a gradual transition to the WebKit engine, as well as Chromium, for most of its upcoming versions of browsers for smartphones and computers.”

Opera is still the world’s most popular mobile browser, but its meat and potatoes product, Opera Mini, is mainly used on Java-based feature phones. The Norwegian company, which has been around for nearly 20 years, and competed against Netscape and Internet Explorer back when HTML 2.0 was still a burgeoning language. Now, with the emerging flattening of the standards landscape, lead by HTML5, Opera no longer feels it needs to develop its own renderer, nor push an independent Javascript engine when there are products freely available that are faster and produce a more consistent experience.

While there will be both iOS and Android versions of the Ice browser, the latter will be showcased at MWC in beta form. The company is claiming 300 million users, and hopes to increase that number with further mobile adoption in 2013.

Source: Opera

  • Bill Murray

    Fastest browser on Android

  • JC Chong

    So much for Presto engine… now it’s left to the big three layout engines:

    – Trident (IE)
    – Webkit (Apple, Google, etc.)
    – Gecko (Mozilla Firefox)

  • S2556

    Opera is the world’s most popular browser? I have never used it and I have never seen a friend or family member using it. Is it more common in other countries or what?

    • Alphs

      Most popular MOBILE browser.

      If you’ve ever owned a cheap feature phone with data, it probably runs Opera mini.

      It’s also one of the most popular browser on iOS and Android.

    • S2556

      Ahh gotcha thanks alphs

    • BIll Murray

      man, use it….its fast

  • why

    Why Opera why? We don’t need even MORE webkit browsers! Presto is what made you guys unique! How will Opera stay unique now?

    Will this change affect Opera Mini too?

    Firefox and IE now remain the only unique browsers, as everything else is Webkit.

    • deltatux

      Well data compression does keep them unique, no other mobile browser except Internet Explorer Mobile and the browser in BlackBerry have compressed pages. It’ll be a great addition to Android and iOS phones.

      As for the decision to move to WebKit, not too sure I like it either. While I can’t stand Gecko, Presto was alright.

  • Jeremy

    The headline is totally wrong. Opera has always been one of the leaders of standards compliance. Their presto engine was frequently pushing the envelope in HTML5 conformance. This isn’t taking them any closer to standards compliance. Opera has already contributed a fix to WebKit that brings _it_ closer to the standards compliance they have in presto.

    It’s a bit sad that people will now code to “webkit” instead of “HTML5” but at least it’s better than when people coded to “IE6” since it’s open source and all of the companies involved (Apple, Google, soon Opera) and individuals can help make it better.