Opera rolls out beta version of new WebKit-based Android browser

A week after Opera showed off its new WebKit-based Android browser at Mobile World Congress 2013, the company has rolled out a beta version of the software on the Google Play Store.

It marks a significant deviation from the Opera's previous smartphone ventures Opera Mini and Opera Mobile, with its design revamp and the addition of a range of new features making it a threat to Google's own Chrome for Android browser.

Unlike Opera Mini and Opera Mobile, Opera for Android is more focused on gestures and introduces a clean, Android-friendly look. Other UI changes include combing the search and URL bars and a new way to switch between tabs. Opera has retained its trademark Speed Dial feature, though it was given a facelift.

Opera for Android also adds other features, including Off-Road mode, which helps users to save on bandwidth through data compression.

The Opera for Android beta can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.