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

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