With the beta version of his new browser Vivaldi counting to more than two million downloads, Opera creator Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner is evangelizing his road map to a more productive browsing experience.
Opera was the first Web browser that didn't try to emulate a desktop app. Instead, it churned out mobile-friendly content from websites that, it seems, didn't see mobile dominating so soon.
Not satisfied with the 350 million users Opera Mobile serves and, apparently, feeling the Chromes and Firefoxes of the world have been missing out on critical opportunities, Tetzchner founded Vivaldi Technologies.
"Vivaldi is all about features," Tetzchner told Tech Times. "It has a lot of them. And options. We believe that all users should be able to get a browser that feels just right for them."
On Nov. 3, Vivaldi moved into its open-beta testing period. Still, Tetzchner says there is a long road ahead for Vivaldi.
This beta period "is all about moving one step closer to the final release. We have had four TPs, with more and more features," Tetzchner said. "The beta is more about improving all the features we had added before, tweaking them and adding a bit more."
Vivaldi Technologies has been listening to its users and focusing on addressing their requirements, including the squashing of bugs, Tetzchner stated. This beta is significantly more polished, he said.
"We will release the final version when it is ready," said Tetzchner. "But it is getting closer and closer! Then we will do the mobile version as well. We have already spent significant time with it, but we have a long way to go."
Breaking the Chronic, Compulsory Use of Chrome and Others
Tetzchner isn't saying Vivaldi is going for the throat of Google Chrome, but would rather be like the Web's most common car used to transport the world to the Web.
So, whether Tetzchner blatantly says it or not, Vivaldi is up against Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox.
"It is a question of what you want to do with your browser," said Tetzchner when asked why users should get a break from Chrome. "If you are a casual user, you may be happy with Chrome, Firefox or any other browser out there. If you want a more powerful browser out of the box, without requiring a lot of extensions, Vivaldi is for you."
Vivaldi is all about giving users more options and a more streamlined experience, according to Tetzchner.
For users who like lots of tabs, Vivladi has "tabs, tab stacks and even tiled tab stacks," Tetzchner stated. For those who would prefer to control the browser via keyboard or rearrange tab locations, there are options for that.
"We try to think about all the use cases and how you might want to use the browser, or you just told us and we listened," Tetzchner said.
Vivaldi appears to be targeting an all-inclusive, heavy-duty browsing experience, noted Pavel Naiya, analyst at Counterpoint, who also explained how the new browser is work-ready so early on.
The browser is powered by Google's Chrome Blink rendering engine, which allows Vivaldi to, unofficially, use Chrome's popular folio of extensions, stated Naiya.
"Adding to that, highlighting features like Quick Commands to control everything in one place, customize the appearance, option to add customized keyboard shortcuts, etc. made it easy to acclimatize for new users shifting from popular browser like Chrome, Firefox and Opera," said Naiya. It "looks a promising piece of software, but in an already crowded browser space."
The Crowded Browser Space
At the moment, apps are the center of the mobile browsing experience and connected devices, stated Naiya. Counterpoint projects incremental growth in the connected devices arena in the near future, once the Internet of Things finally takes off, the analyst stated.
Managing all of those connected devices will be "hectic," but browser-based technologies are poised to save the day with their ability to sync everything from one place. So, despite the crowding, there's still huge potential for any browser that can deliver "cutting edge tech, meaningful features" in a software package that's light on processor and battery, said Naiya.
"However, success in the long term will more likely be also dependent on the integration of cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI) based UI for smart assist, ease of use and vertical integration of multiple devices which is where Google, Microsoft and Apple are miles ahead."
But Chrome isn't immortal. Many of its extensions are considered process- and memory-intensive, which puts a strain on the performance of mobile devices, said the Counterpoint analyst.
"That's one of the chinks in the armor for Google, alongside the business model which seems to be intrusive or conflicting for many other players in the ecosystem," he said. "However, competing with Google Chrome from the scale perspective will be an uphill task."
In near term, to get its legs and its footing, Vivaldi will need to focus its attack.
"New browsers like Vivaldi should focus on regions like North America and Europe where data consumption is on the higher side and will complement their specialization (heavy browsing)," said Naiya.