Exclusive Interview: Opera Talk Wii
Posted by Aleksander Aasnes
The norwegian software company Opera are developing the Internet browser for both the Nintendo DS and the Wii.
Opera's Berit Hanson was nice enough to answers our questions regarding their web browser currently in development for Wii.
Why do you think Nintendo chose Opera for their Wii browser? There are a lot of browsers out there, and some are more popular than Opera?
Opera is experienced in porting to many different devices and mobile phone platforms. We have long been a provider of full Web browser to a variety of devices, allowing users to access the entire Internet despite potential limitations of smaller device. Opera also features unique rendering technology. This means that if you are surfing the Web on your TV, Opera will not appear as it does on a PC. It will adapt the content of the page to suit the size of the screen. These capabilities, in addition to the speed and reliability of the browser, made Opera a natural choice for the Wii.
How long have you had to develop the Opera software for the Wii?
We have followed Nintendo's development schedule for this project, but are unable to say more.
What web standards will the browser support? The DS browser don't support Flash or PDF, what about the Wii browser?
Will the browser be customisable? Will we see skins and "widgets" like in the PC version?
Nintendo isn’t ready to discuss if there will be any user customization allowed for Opera on Wii. Opera’s desktop browser is highly customizable and “skinnable”. We have announced that Opera Widgets will be available on devices and it would be cool to see them on Wii.
What functions will the Wii controller have? Will it act as the mouse pointer? Are we able to scroll or type using the functionality of the Wiimote?
We aim to make a browsing experience that leverages the intuitive capabilities of the Wii remote. Opera for desktop PCs has the built in mouse gesture-based navigation, but how this might be available and mapped to the Wii remote hasn’t yet been revealed by Nintendo.
Will Opera for Wii support tabbed browsing and bookmarks? And will we be able to have personalised bookmarks, so that each family member can have their own profile?
Yes, Opera for Wii will include bookmarks. But Nintendo and Opera have not yet revealed specifics on the unique browser features on the Wii. More will be announced as the Wii launch approaches.
Will the browser be sold as a separate item, like it is for the DS? If so, is it possible to "install" the browser rather than having to swap in the optical disc?
The Opera browser is saved to the Flash ROM on the Wii console, and does not require a separate memory card as Opera for DS does. The browser can be launched in only a few seconds, immediately delivering a great user experience.
What version of Opera is the browser based on? 8.5 or 9.0 ?
Will it support music and video? Will it be possible to stream videos and music?
We are unable to comment on this at this time.
Comparing to a PC display, roughly what resolution will Wii use for browsing?
All we can say at this time is that the user interface for Opera on Wii will be customized to better suit a living room environment. For example, fonts will be larger and the user interface will be simplified so that the Web is easier to view and use from a distance while navigating with the Wii remote.
Will it launch with the Wii?
As mentioned before, Opera will not be sold separately on a game cartridge for Wii. We would like all Wii users to be able to use Opera to surf the Internet. The details of how exactly Opera will be available for browsing within Wii have not yet been announced by Nintendo.
How hard was it to develop the Wii version compared to the PC and the DS version?
There were no major challenges during our development of the Wii browser, since Opera has experience with porting to many different devices and mobile phone platforms. The biggest challenge has been to create the best “living room” Web experience, leveraging the unique capabilities of Wii. Opera has worked closely with Nintendo to achieve a breakthrough experience, especially in terms of incorporating the revolutionary Wii remote into the browsing experience.
Do you think Wii will see more applications? Are you planning on developing anything else for Wii?
Opera is very excited to be working on the Wii project, and we hope to continue to improve the Wii browsing experience by utilizing Opera's unique capabilities. We would also love to see some interaction between the Wii and the DS browsers, but Nintendo has not announced any plans to do so yet. More info will come as the launch approaches.