File Under: Browsers, Mobile

Opera Mobile for Android Gets ‘SPDY’

Opera Mobile 12.1. Image: Scott Gilbertson.

Opera Software has released a new version of Opera Mobile for Android phones. This update doesn’t offer many visible new features, but under the hood there are quite a few improvements that make Opera Mobile 12.1 well worth the upgrade.

You can grab the new Opera Mobile 12.1 for Android from the Google Play Store. Unlike some Android browsers, which only support the latest Android release, Opera Mobile has you covered all the way from Android 1.6 Donut to the latest and greatest, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

Like Opera 12.10 for the desktop the new Mobile 12.1 adds support for the SPDY protocol, WebSockets and a host of new HTML APIs. Opera Mobile’s support for the SPDY network standard, which promises to be even faster than the HTTP protocol, is especially welcome since it means speedier page loads on SPDY-enabled sites like Twitter and Gmail.

Opera Mobile 12.1 also introduces support for more “unprefixed” CSS rules, including transitions, transforms, gradients, animations and flexbox, all of which will now work without the -o- prefix. For now any code you have with an -o- prefix will still work as well, but make sure you’re including the unprefixed rule too since eventually Opera (and every other browser vendor) will drop support for the prefixed versions.

This is the first mobile release to introduce support for some -webkit- prefixes on poorly coded sites that don’t use unprefixed versions of stable CSS properties. Opera’s decision to support another browser’s CSS prefix has caused considerable outcry among web developers and members of the CSS Working Group, which created vendor prefixes. While the controversial -webkit- prefix support has been around in preview versions of both desktop and mobile builds, this the first official mobile release to support it.

For complete details on how Opera’s -webkit- prefix support works, as well as the details on everything that’s new in Opera Mobile 12.1 — like support for Drag and Drop, the Clipboard API and the Page Visibility API — be sure to read Opera’s blog post.