Microsoft is likely to launch smartphones with Opera Mini as default browser from early next year, an official of the browser firm said. According to August 2014 statistics, more smartphone owners than basic Java phone owners now use Opera Mini in India. The Opera Mini user base in India increased by 25% over the past year, while the smartphone user base surged by 120%.
Opera has inked another deal with Microsoft – after Opera’s full-fat mobile product became the default browser on the Nokia X2 Android handset, Opera Mini will now be the default on Microsoft’s feature phones on the Asha, Series 30+ and Series 40 platforms.
The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted a slightly limiting factor in all this: Microsoft is killing off almost all of these devices — though extremely low-end Series 30+ devices like the newly launched Nokia 130 may survive awhile longer — in a push to take Windows Phone toward the bottom of the market.
“Users will begin to receive notifications on their phone starting October 2014, providing them with information on how to upgrade from Xpress Browser to Opera Mini,” an Opera spokesman told me by email. “The precise dates when these notifications will arrive will vary by product family. We intend to fully support people during the full transition period from October 2014 to December 2015.”
Newly produced Microsoft feature phones will have Opera Mini preinstalled, and the Xpress browser will “enter maintenance mode until December 2015 when the service will be fully ramped down,” he added. So much for Microsoft telling me in June that, when it comes to the Asha line, Xpress is “the best browser for the right job.”
According to August 2014 statistics, more smartphone owners than basic Java phone owners now use Opera Mini in India. The Opera Mini user base in India increased by 25% over the past year, while the smartphone user base surged by 120%. Smartphone users now account for 47% of all Opera Mini users, said the report.
Leading the pack of smartphone users is the Android user base, which increased by an impressive 160%. Android users now form 44% of the Opera Mini user base, which is a huge jump from last year when they stood at 21%.
According to the report, only 20% of Indians have access to the internet. The majority of them (92%) access the internet from mobile devices. Android smartphones lead the way with an 80% market share.