Norway's Opera lands deal with Motorola

Opera Software ASA said Wednesday it struck a deal with Motorola Inc. to have the world's No. 2 mobile phone maker use the Opera Web browser in handheld devices.

Opera Software ASA said Wednesday it struck a deal with Motorola Inc. to have the world's No. 2 mobile phone maker use the Opera Web browser in handheld devices.

The choice is significant because Motorola said last year it would team with Microsoft Corp. and use its operating system to power "smarter" cell phones for Web-hungry consumers.

Opera's vice president for sales, Nils Boilesen, said that since there is space for only one browser on most phones "we feel that with this agreement Motorola has decided to go with Opera" instead of Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Smart phones, combining the features of cell phones and handheld computers, have been introduced in only a handful of countries and remain sparse in the United States. Fewer than 10 million of the estimated 500 million handsets being sold worldwide this year are considered smart phones.

But the segment is expected to grow quickly, and Opera's browser, heralded by its users for being compact and fast, has gained ground as a platform of choice for portable devices.

Oslo-based Opera contends its browser allows users to surf all Internet pages, rather the much smaller number tailored for earlier generations of phones, and requires less memory than Internet Explorer.

"We find Opera to be a great option for Web browsing solutions for mobile devices," Ruchi Mangalik, director of the software portfolio for Motorola's personal communications sector, said in a statement.

Opera is also working with Symbian Ltd., a mobile-operating system maker competing with Microsoft, PalmSource Inc. and Linux.

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