Google just released the Chrome for Android beta this morning for Ice Cream Sandwich devices and you just knew other browser makers would have something to say about it. Mobile browser powerhouse Opera has chimed in and it appears to playing nice but emphasizes the fact that its products will use less data than Google’s new browser.
“It’s only natural that Google launched Chrome for Android. Consumers want a better browsing experience on Android. That is what Opera has offered with both Opera Mobile and Opera Mini,” Mahi de Silva, EVP, Consumer Mobile, Opera Software, said via e-mail. “One key advantage of choosing Opera browsers is that both compress data so you get to the sites you love faster and reduce your mobile data bills. Both Opera browsers are available in the Android Market. Opera browsers have 160 million users worldwide out of which millions are Android users.”
We’re still kicking the tired on the Chrome for Android beta but so far, we think it’s a very slick and intuitive way to browse the web. In particular, I believe the design is very functional but it also packs in a bunch of panache for good measure.
Opera has also produced some awesome Android products and its compression technology means that it can likely deliver the same web content that the Chrome browser does but with a lighter impact on your data consumption. In the era of data caps and usage-based pricing, this could become an increasingly important factor for web surfers on the go.
Still, it’s always going to be tough for Opera to compete against a browser maker which also owners the platform – look for Chrome for Android to be baked into the operating system in the not-too-distant future. Opera has had great success on the iPhone (which has similar obstacles) and this could just be another sign that Opera is moving from a browser company into an “actual Internet company.”