If you're sick of waiting for Firefox Mobile to launch you'll be pleased to hear that Opera has officially announced the newest version of the Opera Mobile browser for smartphones.
Available for phones and handhelds running Symbian OS, Windows Mobile or Linux, the new version of the browser – 9.5 – improves on the zooming and panning functionality of its predecessors and introduces an enhanced version of the Presto rendering engine designed to speed up page loading on bandwidth- and CPU-limited platforms.
The latest version ticks all the 'Web 2.0' checkboxes too; support for the usual raft of scripting languages is built-in, as well as Flash Lite 3 for rich media streaming – including YouTube, if the mobile version of the site
doesn't do it for you.
Opera Mobile 9.5 also introduces Opera Widgets, which are add-in applications that can sit on the desktop of your handset and provide web content without the need to launch your browser.
The user interface has also had a tweaking, with the buttons and taskbars fading away if you haven't tapped anything for a while and leaving the full screen area for web browsing. While it won't make your QVGA screen suddenly as good for browsing as a 19” desktop display, it certainly makes mobile browsing less painful when combined with the zooming and panning functionality.
If you're hoping to get your hands on the new build right away, you'll be sadly disappointed. Although we'll certainly see the new build before Firefox Mobile, the company has yet to announce any officially launch dates. The only information the company was willing to give is that the public beta will be “announced separately
To whet our apptetites just that little bit more, though, the company has sneaked out a video demo
Looking forward to the new release, or are you still pinning your hopes on newcomer Firefox Mobile? Give us your views over in the forums