Opera 7.60 set to offer faster browsing

The browser company has partnered with SlipStream in a bid to speed up browsing for dial-up and mobile phone users

The next version of the Opera browser will be integrated with SlipStream's Web and email acceleration technology, Opera Software said on Thursday.

The company claimed that Opera 7.60, which is due at the end of 2004, will enable ISPs to offer up to six times faster browsing on dial-up and wireless connections. SlipStream's technology works by compressing and streamlining Web content and emails to speed-up access over a network.

Michelle Valdivia, a marketing manager for Opera, told ZDNet UK on Friday that the combination of Opera's mobile browser with Web acceleration will enable mobile phone uses to get faster Web access.

"Opera's mobile Web browser coupled with Web acceleration will definitely speed up Web browsing from phones," said Valdivia.

Opera has several deals with handset manufacturers including Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Motorola, although Valdivia admits that it has had more success in Europe than in the US, where she claims the market for browsing the Web using a mobile phone has lagged behind.

The main market for this product is not mobile phone users, but dial-up users, said Valdivia. SlipStream claims to be the de facto standard in the accelerated dial-up market, with over 900 ISP Partners worldwide, according to its Web site.

Valdivia claimed there has been increasing interest in Opera over the past year, and by the end of the year it is expecting to beat last years download figures by more than two million downloads. So far, Opera's desktop browser has been downloaded 14 million times, said Valdivia.

However, Opera still has some way to go before it reaches the level of interest that has been shown in Firefox. The pre-release version of Firefox was downloaded five million times in just one month.

ZDNet UK's own figures show that there has been little change in the percentage of site visitors using an Opera browser: it has remained at around 0.6 percent from February to October this year. Over the same period the percentage of site visitors using a Mozilla browser increased from 9 to 19 percent.

For ZDNet UK's review of Opera 7.5 please click here.

Opera can be downloaded free of charge from the Opera Web site, although users who chose to pay $39 can obtain an ad-free version of Opera along with access to support.

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