By Matt Hines  |  Posted 2006-03-14 Print this article Print

: Once Users Try It, Theyll Like It"> Leppanen said that once Opera has gained major U.S. partners and broader support in Europe, users will give it a shot against Microsofts Pocket Internet Explorer and the browsers offered by various device makers such as Research In Motion. "The challenge is to educate the end user, we know we can succeed if we can do that, and we need to align ourselves with key partners to help do that in the United States and Europe," he said. "Weve been working hard on the carriers for two years and I think were on the verge of some major steps forward."
Another intriguing aspect of the Debitel deal is its planned promotion of Opera Platform, the companys mobile applications development platform.
Using the tools, the telecommunications provider will market mobile work force tools such as forms-based field applications that run in Operas browsers. Leppanen said a number of end-user companies in Europe have also begun building their own tools using the platform. While industry experts remain skeptical that Opera is ready to challenge Microsoft in the United States any time soon, analysts observed that the T-Mobile deal could be a harbinger of things to come. Analysts say mobile browsers arent yet ready for enterprise use. Read more here. "T-Mobile would seem like a strong candidate for a U.S. partner, and it could be a good differentiator for [T-Mobile], as it allows them to offer Web access on a lot of lower-end devices," said Brad Akyuz, analyst with Washington-based Current Analysis. "However, the average user still doesnt know who they are, and it will be hard for them to create that awareness quickly." Akyuz said that Opera Mini does deliver a compelling enough proposition to attract people to use the mobile Web once they have tried the browser out, which he said should ultimately give the company a chance until something better comes along. Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with New York-based Jupiter Research, said most people didnt expect Opera to have as much success as it already has achieved in bringing its mobile browsers to users. While the battle for the mobile browser space is sure to heat up, the company has proven its grit to many industry watchers, he said. "Opera has managed not only to survive but to thrive, and part of that is because their focus on the mobile space is very clear," Gartenberg said. "Theyve shown the market that html browsing is extremely viable, even on feature phones; the next step is establishing these relationships with carriers and handset makers as something they can monetize going forward." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.


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