Opera has just pushed out an update to its Android app that might land it again on the top list of mobile browsers. Starting with version 20, users can now participate in video chats right from within the browser itself.
Video calls on mobile devices isn’t really anything new, but in most cases it requires special, dedicated apps, with their own proprietary services, or at the very least, browser plugins. Opera 20 for Android tries to do away with that and let anyone with just the web browser make or take video calls. Users simply have to go to a website or service to get a web address that they can share to invite people in the video chat. All they need is a browser that supports WebRTC, like Opera, which is what makes the magic possible.
WebRTC, for Real-Time Communication is a rather recent development in web technology. It is basically a set of APIs that enables web apps in browsers to support activities like voice calls, video chat, and the like, without the need to have plugins installed. The ultimate goal of WebRTC is standardization for developers and convenience for users. Of course, one will still need to use a WebRTC-based service to use it, but for those using Opera already, it frees them from some intermediary steps or registrations. Furthermore, Opera supports WebRTC on the desktop as well, so Opera users need not install a separate PC app or plugin.
But the Opera 20 release also brings in more than just WebRTC video chats. The core of the browser engine, which is now based on the open source Chromium browser, has been bumped to version 33. The Speed Dial tab has also been refreshed with a flatter design. Users can also configure the interface layout to their liking. Opera 20 for Android is now up on Google Play Store and can be installed on Android devices running Android 4.0 and later.