Nokia N900 gets Opera Mobile 10 preview build

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Although Firefox Mobile is still my favorite browser for the Nokia N900 and the stock MicroB browser is certainly no slouch either, I couldn't ignore the news that a preview build of Opera Mobile 10 for Maemo was released today.

The new browser began as a side project in the Opera Labs and reflects only about six weeks of work in its current state, so it has some known issues like no support for the on-screen keyboard or Flash and other plugins, no power management, and visible screen tearing while panning. Some of these wrinkles will be ironed out in future updates, while others won't; in Opera's words, it's "much more fun to add shiny new features rather than fixing boring old bugs."

But don't dismiss the browser just yet. Because even though it may never become a fully supported official release, the developers still threw in some exclusive goodies for Maemo users. In addition to the Speed Dial, Opera Turbo, and other features common to Opera Mobile 10, N900 and even N800/N810 owners are being treated to the company's new javascript engine and Vega rendering library.

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I've been playing with Opera Mobile 10 on my N900 and am impressed by its depth. I still like Firefox Mobile better (I'm also a desktop Firefox user), but I wouldn't say that it's necessarily a better browser than Opera Mobile across the board. I find Firefox more intuitively designed with all of its browser controls accessible with left or right swipes across the screen, and I like its desktop features and the way it handles zoom, but Speed Dial and Opera Turbo are definitely compelling reasons to use Opera Mobile when not on WiFi.

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I don't find Turbo useful when I am on WiFi, which is actually all the time since I don't have a SIM in my N900, because I'd rather wait a few extra seconds to get better image quality, but that's just a personal preference. Pages load fairly quickly and render well, but zooming is a little tedious in that it's "locked" into whatever level is chosen in the settings menu. For some sites, 140% is great while other sites are easier on the eyes at, say, 160%. The default is set at 200%, which is way too big for me and cuts off images more than I can stand (an issue that many mobile browsers have).

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I won't be ditching Firefox Mobile for Opera Mobile 10 on my N900, but the browser will definitely be a permanent resident in my program menu.

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You can download Opera Mobile 10 using the default browser on your Nokia N800, N810, or N900.

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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