Opera Optimizes Its Android Browser for Chromebooks

Posted on July 1, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Chrome OS, Chromebook, Web browsers with 4 Comments

Opera is offering up an odd proposition: Sure, use a Chromebook. But use Opera instead of Chrome. The Android version of Opera.

“Opera is now the world’s first alternative browser optimized for Chromebooks,” Opera’s Stefan Stjernelund writes. “The Opera Browser brings many unique features previously unavailable on the Chrome OS platform, including a free, unlimited, no-log browser VPN, ad blocker, cookie dialog blocker, and color themes.”

Citing the growth of Chromebooks in recent years—30 million sold in 2020 and an expected 40 million in 2021—Opera says it’s the right time to bring a safe and private web browsing experience to Chrome OS. The problem, of course, is that you can’t install any desktop web browser alternatives.

But Chrome OS does support Android apps now, and Android apps can be tailored for phone and/or bigger screen devices like tablets and Chromebooks. And so now Opera for Android is optimized for use on Chromebooks, and this version offers unique features that might make for a compelling alternative. These features include built-in messaging (via WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook), a free and unlimited VPN, ad blocking, GDPR dialog suppression, a built-in crypto wallet, theming customizations, night mode, and full keyboard and trackpad support.

Interested in trying out this little Frankenstein’s monster of a configuration? Simply download Opera for Android on your Chromebook.

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Comments (4)

4 responses to “Opera Optimizes Its Android Browser for Chromebooks”

  1. dallasnorth40

    Turn your Chromebook into an Operabook.

  2. markbyrn

    Not really buying their PR. You can install Firefox via the Chromebook Linux feature and get the full desktop experience.  

    • MikeCerm

      Just because you can install Firefox doesn't mean that Opera isn't the "first alternative browser optimized for Chromebooks." Firefox is definitely NOT optimized for Chromebooks. You can install it, sure, but you don't really get the full desktop experience because it's not GPU accelerated, so the performance is slow and video playback is choppy, and it takes forever to launch (because it takes a while to launch the Linux VM). It's a battery killer, too. While it's maybe useful for testing purposes, you definitely wouldn't want to run it all the time.

      • markbyrn

        Actually, I'm using a Samsung Galaxy Chromebook and Firefox allows one to enable GPU acceleration. Don't see any option for that in Opera and nor do they tout it as part of the optimization claim.

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