Video chat to go, no app needed
Opera 20 for Android launches today, with WebRTC and GetUserMedia
Just as smartphones have gone through tremendous development in recent years, their mobile web browsers are getting more and more advanced. Now, with today’s update of the Opera for Android mobile browser, another task that previously required an app is possible right from the web browser of your Android phone: we are talking about video chat across mobile phones and computers, simply by accessing a website right from the browser on your phone.
In short, you can visit a website to start a video call with anyone using a WebRTC-compatible browser such as Opera 20. All you need to do is visit a site such as appear.in, get an address for your video conference and share it with those you’d like to join. No special app is needed, and up to eight people can chat from their Android phones or computers, at the same time.
“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. “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.”
The key is WebRTC, a newly implemented feature in Opera for Android, available for free in the Google Play store. Behind this acronym, there is a nifty solution for live communication using the cameras on mobile phones.
The Opera for Android browser will keep you informed of the camera and microphone usage via on-screen requests, just as it does on the desktop version, so you are in control of the different ways of capturing images and sound.
Smart and smarterer
With the Opera for Android update today, the browser has received several upgrades in addition to the WebRTC feature that enables video chat right in your Android phone:
- A fresh look for the Speed Dial reflects a flat design.
- Users of Opera for Android can now choose how to set up the browser navigation bars to suit their mobile phone or tablet.
- The Chromium core got a kick up to version 33, and multiple bugs in text-wrap and text selection are squashed.
- Improvements to search sees the combined search and address bar upgraded, allowing easier search by maintaining the words you search for in the bar.
Opera for Android is now available in the Google Play store, as a free download for your phone or tablet running Android 4.0 or higher.
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