Opera Wins Deal With Microsoft To Become Default Mini Browser On Feature And Asha Handsets

Opera Software, the Norwegian software developer behind the Opera browser, scored an interesting deal with Microsoft to have its Opera Mini browser for mobile devices serve as the default web surfing vehicle on Microsoft's existing feature phones and Asha handsets, the company announced today. The licensing agreement applies to mobile phones based on the Series 30+, Series 40, and Asha software platforms. In short, Opera is taking over the browser building division in Nokia.

"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."

Nokia Asha
Opera Mini will come pre-installed on all new Asha handsets.

Terms of the deal dictate that owners of existing handsets already running Xpress will be encouraged to upgrade to the latest Opera Mini browser; all new devices will come with Opera Mini already installed.

Though Opera's share of the desktop PC browser market isn't on par with players like IE, Chrome, or Firefox, it's a different story in mobile. Opera Mini is one of the most popular web browsers around with about 250 million users, over 100 million of which are on Android smartphones. One of the highlights of Opera Mini is its built-in compression technology that helps users save on mobile data.