Opera 20 joins Chrome and Firefox in offering WebRTC video chat in Android browser

Opera has released a stable version of its Android browser that supports web-based video chats and peer to peer communications.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Norwegian browser maker Opera has released a stable version of Opera 20 for Android, which includes WebRTC support for video chats straight from the browser.

The stable release with support for WebRTC (web real time communications) brings Opera in line with Chrome and Firefox for Android, which added WebRTC support last year. Opera released the feature in its beta channel last month. Opera has offered WebRTC support in its desktop browser as has Chrome and Firefox since mid-2013.

The set of WebRTC APIs open up the browser for web-based real time communications without plugins, or in the case of mobile, a separate app.

Supported by Google, Mozilla and Opera, the WebRTC project wants to foster new real-time communications browser applications, which can use JavaScript APIs and HTML5 to access the camera and mic on a device.

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Image credit: Opera.

As Mozilla highlighted when it added WebRTC support in Firefox 24 for Android, developers can capture camera or microphone streams directly from the browser using only JavaScript, make browser to browser calls, and develop peer-to-peer browser apps, such as chat, gaming and imaging sharing. However, it noted the experience using WebRTC may be a little rough around the edges.

To test the feature, Opera is recommending the site appear.in, which supports chats with up to eight people at once. Other similar sites include talky.io, apprtc.appspot.com, and codeshare.io.

While the the ability to access the camera and mic in the browser are neat features, there's obvious privacy risks that come with it. To address this, Opera said the Android browser informs the user when the camera and microphone is in use via on-screen requests, similar to the desktop version.

The update also brings a new flat design to Opera's Speed Dial and the ability to adjust browser navigation bars to suit a phone or tablet, while the browser’s Chromium core moved up to version 33. 

Opera 20 can be installed via Google Play today.

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