Microsoft makes Opera default browser on feature phones

Microsoft, now the owner of what used to be Nokia’s handset operation, has selected Nordic software developer Opera to make the opera Mini web browser the default across the company’s feature phone and Asha portfolio.

The licensing agreement applies to mobile phones based on the Series 30+, Series 40 and Asha software platforms, which have a significant market share in developing regions.

Users of these devices which use the current default browser, Xpress, will be encouraged to upgrade to the latest Opera Mini browser. Factory-new devices will have Opera Mini pre-installed.

One of the often mentioned predictions is that many consumers in emerging markets willhave their first experience of the internet on a mobile device.

“We continue to sell and support classic first and feature phones as well as the Asha range, which have performed well with millions of people who want new mobile experiences at lower price points,” said Rich Bernardo, head of legacy business, Phones, Microsoft. “The agreement with Opera will enable us to provide continuity of service as we transition from Xpress Browser to Opera Mini.”

Opera Mini is popular because it features a built-in compression technology that allows users to save on mobile data and also helps operators keep network opex down. Opera Mini currently has around 250 million users, over 100 million of these on Android smartphones.


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