Opera Mobile 9.5 is well recognized as the best mobile browser in the world. Opera, who has been developing the software for the last year, has been working on both a Windows Mobile and Symbian version. A Symbian version has even been demonstrated at the 3GSM world conference earlier this year.
A few weeks ago however Opera announced they will soon be releasing a beta for Windows Mobile on the 15 July. Symbian users were immediately up in arms due to the omission of any mention of a Symbian release. On the 7 July however Opera clarified that in fact the Symbian release has indeed been delayed.
“We will offer a Symbian version of Opera Mobile, but you will have to wait a while. We do not yet know when the Symbian version will be ready because development and quality assurance on mobile devices is time consuming. In the meantime Opera Mini is a great alternative for Symbian users.” posted product manager Frode Hauge on his My Opera blog.
His explanation was that quality assurance on the diversity of the fragmented Symbian world would take some time, and that this would delay the release. Others have however postulated that the scarecity of touch-based Symbian phones, especially with the issues Sony Ericsson’s UIQ was having, meant that Windows Mobile Professional was a natural fit for Opera’s touch-optimized browser.
It has also been suggested that despite Symbian having a marketshare 5 times bigger than Windows Mobile, that with Symbian dominated by Nokia with its own passable Webkit based browser, Windows Mobile with its anemic Pocket IE was a much greener pasture than it may at first appear. Certainly high profile devices such as the HTC Touch Diamond and Samsung Omnia benefit greatly from the inclusion of the browser.
In the end, no matter what the reason, its clear in this case Windows Mobile users are the winners, and Symbian users, not.