Opera WebKit-based browser hands-on

Think Opera is content at 300 million? That would be a rather silly notion for any company, of course, and naturally the browser is bumping up its efforts by making the jump to WebKit. This move will make Opera even more tempting for Android (phone and tablet) users who would never have given the browser even a sideways glance previously. The newer, fancier Opera throws in a few extra features. First, there's a launch page called speed dial that looks an awful lot like what we've seen in older versions; you can customize a bunch of shortcuts and links based on your overall usage and personal preferences, and toss all of them in folders. There's also an off-road mode, which essentially gives you the option to switch over to Opera Mini for extra data compression for those times you need it -- this obviously comes in handy when you're reaching your data threshold or just in a low-reception area. Lastly, HTML5 support is built in, as we would come to expect with a new browser these days.

Though we were originally told in January that we could expect Android and iOS versions of the browser sometime this month, representatives at the company's booth at MWC noted that what we're seeing is actually a pre-beta version and the final product is "coming soon" with no specific timetable given. This doesn't surprise us, as the demonstration had its fair share of bugs, but we will reserve judgment until we see it in its final form. As we patiently wait for the browser to make its public appearance, you can pine for it by drooling over the images in our gallery below.

Sean Cooper contributed to this hands-on.