Sunday, January 9, 2011 11:56:26 AM
In early 2000, this suddenly started to change. Keith was an English Symbian-developer who had gotten Opera 3.6 to run on PSION devices by implementing the necessary Windows APIs on Symbian OS. The approach was not easy to maintain, and would not work with the 32-bit Opera 4, but it was a huge improvement over the very limited browser PSION shipped with their otherwise excellent devices.
At that time I had already started to do systematic blackbox testing on internal builds of the browsers, and because of that my job description got changed. It was clearly reflected in my workplace. In this picture from August, 2000, you see my main workstation running OS/2 version 4.5 at the far left. Then follow a dual boot Windows NT 3.51/SuSE Linux, a dual-boot Windows 95 / BeOS, an iMac with MacOS X, and under it a PSION netBook. The pictures are still frames from video Debbie shot around the office.
These computers soon got company from a mysterious breadboard with a touchscreen, a planned Symbian-based tablet which never made it to the stores.
That was part of a learning experience for Opera. Several of the first devices the browser was ported to were never offered for sale, and then it does not help much to have a good royalty contract. In addition to the Nokia breadboard I tested on, there is a very nice Ericson tablet on display in the Opera reception. The most advanced device was the Screen Media device, which was intended for such interesting applications as integration into airplane seats. If they had managed to get enough capital, in-flight entertainment would have been much better than the current solution with dumb monitors and a bulky box stealing the legroom of somebody on each bank of seats.
Many of the interesting devices vere victims to the so-called dotcom crisis. While we had some lean times in Opera as well, it was obvious that our no-frills management style made all the difference in the world.