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March 06, 2014

Opera 20 for Android Brings WebRTC to Mobile Browser

Since WebRTC brings real-time communications to the browser, browser support is pretty critical. Not to say it’s necessary, since companies are able to integrate WebRTC functionality into incompatible browsers and applications, but it provides strong support for the development of the technology. Chrome, Firefox and Opera are the forerunners leading this industry as the browsers supporting WebRTC. The latest release of Opera 20 for Android brings the browser up to speed with Chrome and Firefox, which both already support WebRTC in their Android versions. 

Opera has been offering WebRTC support on its desktop browser since mid-2013. Opera 20 for Android (4.0 or higher) brings WebRTC support for browser-based video chats, as well as customizable browser navigation bars, version 33 of Chromium core and improvements to search.

The move isn’t entirely surprising – we saw the beta version of Opera 20 for Android last month, with support for WebRTC.

“The web is the ultimate meeting place for all forms of communication, so why not build video communication capabilities right into the mobile browser?” says Peter Wallman, SVP of Mobile Products at Opera Software, in a company blog post. “We have worked with the folks at appear.in before, and their site is a very neat example of how to combine cutting-edge web technologies into a useful service that is free and simple to use, yet powerful.”

Noted in the Opera post, appear.in is a WebRTC service that enables video conversations with up to eight people from their phones or computers – as long as they are using Chrome, Firefox or Opera. A link to a conference room is all users need to connect into a conversation.

Users can visit a website to start a video call with anyone using a WebRTC-compatible browser. The newest Android version also includes the getUserMedia API, which allows JavaScript access to a device’s camera and microphones, enabling this in-browser communication.

WebRTC enables more than just voice and video calling. Users can also transfer files, screen share and play games with the WebRTC data channel. The technology enables peer-to-peer communication, which means data streams are sent directly between users, encrypted and not stored on servers. 

Edited by Cassandra Tucker
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