Hyderabad: Microsoft is likely to launch smartphones with Opera Mini as default browser from early next year, an official of the browser firm said Wednesday.
The IT giant, which bought phone maker Nokia, entered into an agreement with Oslo-based Opera Software a couple of months ago.
"They have product roadmap but from early next year you will see these devices in the market with our browser," said Sunil Kamath, Vice-President for South Asia, Opera Software.
He told reporters here that the devices would be first launched in India, which is their biggest and fastest market.
"India is the largest and fastest market in terms of Opera Mini users. I don't think there is any mobile browser closer to us," he said.
Sunil said globally the browser firm has over a billion users, including 350 million users of Opera browser. While declining to share country-specific figures, he said the user base in India for Opera Mini is growing by 25 percent.
Opera has tie-up with 16 phone makers in India, whose devices have Opera Mini as the default browser.
The browser firm Wednesday announced its partnership with Celkon Mobiles, a leader in mobile and wireless solutions to launch most affordable Android smartphone, Campus Nova A352E. The device priced at Rs.2,000 comes with Opera Mini browser.
Murali Retineni, Executive Director at Celkon, described the latest launch as a revolution in smartphone pricing. It supports all features of Android with a 512 MB internal memory.
Opera Software also released its latest Opera Mini statistics, which indicate a massive migration of its basic Java phone users to Android phones. Celkon and Opera Software have joined hands and are focusing on acquiring more Android phone users in India.
According to August 2014 statistics, more smartphone owners than basic Java phone owners now use Opera Mini in India. The Opera Mini user base in India increased by 25 percent over the past year, while the smartphone userbase surged by 120 percent. Smartphone users now account for 47 percent of all Opera Mini users, said the report.
Leading the pack of smartphone users is the Android user base, which increased by an impressive 160 percent. Android users now form 44 percent of the Opera Mini user base, which is a huge jump from last year when they stood at 21 percent
According to the report, only 20 percent of Indians have access to the Internet. The majority of them (92 percent) access the Internet from mobile devices. Android smartphones lead the way with an 80 percent market share.