Google Android gets Opera Mini 4.2

Opera's cut-down mobile browser is now available to Android users, as well as users of certain BlackBerry and Windows Mobile handsets

Opera has released its first browser for the Google-run Android mobile platform.

Opera Mini 4.2, the final release of which came out on Tuesday, is the latest version of Opera's most cut-down mobile browser. Mini 4.2 is not only the first Opera browser to make it onto an Android phone but also marks the first time that Android users have been given an alternative to the native Android browser.

The browser version had a beta release recently, in which Opera claimed speed improvements over earlier versions. Opera's servers cache and translate standard web content into formats better suited for mobile delivery, and the company claimed a new Opera Mini server park in the US will boost load times for users around the globe. The primary benefits will be felt by US users, but an Opera spokesperson told ZDNet UK on Tuesday that Asian and European users would also see speed improvements.

Other enhancements in Opera Mini 4.2 include the addition of more supported languages and several new colour options for the browser's border. Opera Link — the service that synchronises bookmarks between the PC version of Opera and the mobile version — now also supports the synchronisation of notes.

Opera also said that it has enhanced real-time streaming protocol (RTSP) handoff in its Mini 4.2 browser, claiming in a statement on Tuesday that this "increases the number of phones with support for mobile video".

Users of the T-Mobile G1 — currently the only Android device on the market — can download Opera Mini 4.2 for free from the Android Market. The browser is also available to users of certain BlackBerry and Windows Mobile handsets.