Opera Web browser reaches 300 million users, adopts WebKit layout engine

Opera Web browser logo
Opera Web browser logo

Big changes are afoot at Opera – the alternative Internet browser software developer – as the Norwegian company announced its “fastest acceleration in user growth” in recent times to 300 million monthly users, and the beginning of a transition to the WebKit layout engine.

Opera develops a range of Internet browsers across desktop, tablet, TV, and mobile, and today announced that it had reached the 300 million monthly milestone – no mean feat in today’s highly competitive browser market.

Most of this growth stems from mobile where Opera is ranked third highest behind the default Android browser and mobile Safari on iOS, according to StatCounter. As Opera CEO Lars Boilesen describes, mobile is something that the company intends to concentrate on going forward; “we are shifting into the next gear to claim a bigger piece of the pie in the smartphone market.”

Opera also announced that it will make a gradual transition to the open-source WebKit rendering engine this year, as well as the open-source Chromium Web browser. WebKit powers Apple Safari and Google Chrome browsers, amongst others, and is well-known for its standards compliance and performance. Google Chrome is derived from the Chromium project, to which Google has added some extra functionality and features (if that makes sense?).

By halting development on its own rendering engine and contributing, along with other browser experts, to said open-source projects, Opera’s CTO, Håkon Wium Lie, hopes that more resources “can be dedicated to developing new features and the user-friendly solutions that can be expected from a company that invented so many of the features that are today being used by everyone in the browser industry.”

Opera has already submitted its first set of patches to the WebKit and Chromium projects. Opera has a new Android Web browser in the works, which its will demonstrate later this month at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

1 Comment

  1. I’ve tied Opera so many times and it’s always a disappointment in some way. On my rMBP it doesn’t have decent zoom functions as I prefer to use 2880×1880 resolution. I found that I prefer a site zoom of 130-140% depending on site, yet it doesn’t have these in the preferences.
    Unlike Chrome, Safari and FireFox it also does not remember the zoom for each site, making it extremely tedious to use. Even then changing the zoom to different sitting it still does not apply it to the program and still uses the default or settings in the preference. Which go Jump from 120 -150 Zoom.
    It’s all rather tedious and despite the browser being fast and doing the majority of what I need, this one part really irks me and makes it nearly unusable.

  2. Never mind the matter of Opera constantly activating my dedicated GPU, which causes a lovely battery drain compared to the integrated one when just wanting to browse the web.
    I’m having been forced to disable automatic GPU switching because of Opera, and manually having to switch between GPU’s.

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Darren McCarra
Darren McCarra is co-editor of The Sociable. He has a keen interest in photography, all things mobile, and writing about technology and social media. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.