Motorola licenses Opera browser

The mobile-phone maker is Opera Software's latest licensee, as companies look to add Internet capabilities to their handsets

Opera Software has closed its second licensing deal with electronics-manufacturer Motorola in as many weeks, with Motorola's mobile-phone division acquiring the rights to build Opera products into various handsets.

The deal follows an agreement last week enabling Opera and Motorola's Global Software Group to offer a product combining Opera's mobile HTML browser and Motorola's WAP browser. Opera started off offering PC software that competes with Microsoft Internet Explorer, but in recent months has found success with a version of its browser for handheld computers and smartphones.

Motorola said Opera's cross-platform support was important in Motorola's decision to license the software. "With Opera's multi-platform capabilities we're able to support delivery to our customers of a seamless experience across various handsets," said Ruchi Mangalik, director of software portfolio for Motorola Personal Communications Sector (PCS), in a statement.

Opera makes its Web browser available on mobile platforms such as the Symbian OS and Linux, but pointedly does not support Microsoft Windows Mobile platforms, such as Pocket PC and Windows for Smartphones. Motorola makes a Windows-powered smartphone, the MPx200, as well as handsets based on the Symbian OS and Linux.

Motorola PCS also licensed the Opera Platform, which allows mobile phone network operators to customise the main screen of a handset and update the screen's content over the air.

The Opera mobile browser is built into some Nokia smartphone handsets as default software, and is available on others, including the Sony Ericsson P800 and P900 and the Linux-powered Sharp Zaurus SL5500 handheld computer. Other mobile browsers are available from companies such as PalmSource and Microsoft, but generally support only one operating system.

Opera supports Windows, Linux, the Mac OS, the Symbian OS, QNX, TRON, FreeBDS, Solaris and Mediahighway. The company announced on Monday that it would seek a public listing in March.