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February 07, 2014

Opera 20 Beta Release for Android Supports WebRTC

Only a few months after introducing WebRTC support into the desktop version of its browser with Opera 18, Opera Software has introduced browser-based, plugin-free, real-time communications to its Android browser as well. More specifically, the Opera 20 beta for Android now supports WebRTC, meaning stable channel users will either have to wait a while, or check out the beta channel to start chatting.

“Opera joins Google Chrome and Firefox Mobile in supporting WebRTC so now on Android as well as desktop, those three browsers can talk to each other without plugins - all through interoperable web technologies,” reads the post announcing the update on Opera’s official blog.

Of course, like any full number release, the Opera 20 beta also brings with it a number of other new features and under-the-hood tweaks to provide an overall better mobile browsing experience.

Opera 20 features version 32 of Chrome, which in itself should bring speed and stability enhancements. The release also offers a new simple search feature, support for the HTML5 Vibration API, and greater customization of the UI with phone, tablet and classic UI options.

With the release of the Opera 20 beta, Android now boasts three browsers — the other two being Firefox and Chrome — that support WebRTC in some capacity. Apple’s iOS, on the other hand, doesn’t offer any direct browser support for the technology. This is merely a symptom, however, of the seeming apathy Apple has expressed toward WebRTC to date, but is nonetheless somewhat inconvenient for iPhone and iPad users.

Fortunately, there are still ways for iOS devices to participate in WebRTC sessions with desktop and Android users as a handful of WebRTC-based chat services, like Bistri, have released official apps for Apple mobile devices. It’s not perfect, but it should do until Apple takes an official stance on WebRTC — which many believe will be soon.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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