How Tonido can help Opera browser to triumph browser wars – an Open Invitation to Håkon Wium Lie

Note: I wrote this post 2 days before the launch of Opera Unite. So read it from historical perspective – Where the world was without Opera Unite.

I am writing this post with a hope that Håkon Wium Lie (CTO of Opera) will get a chance to read this post. I used Opera browser 3 years ago. I don’t really remember the reason why i have switched from Opera to Firefox. But i still think it is a great browser. Probably one of the under appreciated ones for the value it provides to the users. I recently came across a blog post from Geek Technica (http://www.geektechnica.com/2009/06/8-browser-innovations-started-by-opera/). It is shocking to see a pioneer known for its innovations has only ~2.2% market share in desktop browsers compared to IE6′s 14.2% market share.

Browser Statistics, Source: Geek Technica

Browser Statistics

One can categorize the browser players into four major categories.

  • Microsoft (IE), Apple (Safari) – Both OS and Web play
  • Google (Chrome) – Pure Web play with Google Native Client
  • Firefox – Pure Web play with extensible add-on architecture
  • Opera – Pure Web Play

Since Microsoft and Apple have operating system play they are not going to go in the direction of making operating system completely irrelevant. But they do have the advantage of bundling their browsers with their operating systems. So IE and safari are going to be around for the foreseeable future. They are not going to go away easily.

The other leading browser Firefox commands immense loyalty with their user base. Firefox’s powerful add-ons and extensible architecture make the browser indispensable to its users and it will be hard for other players to poach the Firefox’s committed user base.

The recent entry of Google chrome has made browser market much more competitive. If you look at the chart Google Chrome has gained 5.5% of market share in a short period of time. With the introduction of Google native client its strategy is very clear. Bring the power and speed of native applications to the web platform and make the underlying operating system irrelevant for the end users. Google native client allows the developers to access the full computational power of underlying CPU and enables them to create rich dynamic internet applications. Considering their past track record Google will be able to provide all the mainstream desktop applications in browser with the same functionality and features. I will not be surprised if Google can gain at least 1/4th of total desktop browser market share in a year time.

So with the exception of Opera, all the browsers have one or other advantages (bundling, native client, add-ons, etc..). The situation is precarious for Opera in the desktop segment. Unless otherwise they do something groundbreaking or revolutionary they may not be able to increase the market share from current level and most probably will be delegated to obscure status.

So now coming to the core of the topic. How Tonido can help Opera not only to gain the market share but also to win the the browser war ultimately. For people who don’t know what Tonido is: It is a cross platform , peer-to-peer, personal web application platform.

Tonido Platform Features

  • Portable: Runs on x86, ARM
  • Cross platform: Windows, Linux, Mac OSX
  • Small memory footprint: high performance
  • Small download: 5 MB download without applications
  • Open development platform that allows new applications to be built
  • 1-click seamless install of new apps from Tonido app store
  • Apps have Web based UI
  • Apps accessible locally, from intranet or internet http://mike.tonidoid.com
  • Apps can communicate via P2P
  • Apps run locally and store data locally
  • Apps can be used online or offline w/o internet connectivity
  • Rich, Interactive Web 2.0 style UI.

If you want to know more about Tonido Platform, please refer to our post How Tonido Platform Works

So How Tonido Platform can help Opera Browser?

  • Tonido provides an development platform for Opera to create interesting rich internet applications.
  • Tonido development platform offers native OS access for Opera without limiting APIs to ones provided by Opera itself. With the native access sky is the limit for number of interesting apps you can develop on Tonido platform. All the popular desktop apps can be targeted for replacement with the help of Tonido Platform.
  • Tonido development platform offers an in-built http server and a p2p stack to Opera. Now users become not only the consumer of information provided by public online services, but also can become the producers of information. This approach is a game changer and totally revolutionary.
  • Tonido Platform is light weight. It can run happily on embedded systems. So taking the Tonido platform to Opera’s mobile forte is a cakewalk.
  • With Tonido’s P2P stack, Opera browser will be able to create the largest private p2p network mankind ever witnessed. Later Opera can use this for content delivery.
  • Finally with the help of Tonido Platform, Opera can thwart the competitions from FireFox (Extensible app and update architecture offered by Tonido) , Google Chrome (Native OS Access Offered by Tonido Platform), IE and Safari.So all-in-all Tonido Platform is a great fit for Opera. If anybody from Opera Top management reads this please don’t hesitate to contact us. :-)

— Original Blog Post Ends Here —

Note: Opera’s Unite launch today closes the opportunity for us. But Kudos to the Opera Team and we wish good luck with their endeavors.

For the naysayers, Opera’s Unite launch completely validates the concept of Tonido. We are happy about it! But we are not going to sit idle as well. This is a big space and Opera’s Unite will raise awareness overall about solutions that respect privacy and freedom from thirdparty servers and it is a good thing. And we are going to march steadfast until we reach our goal.

A question to the developer community: If Tonido decides to build a browser based on WebKit with a http and p2p stack, will you be interested in it?  Will you be able to develop applications for Tonido? Let us know.

16 Responses

  1. Derek W says:

    your ‘get tonido’ only links to http://www.tonidoplug.com and thus nobody can download it.

  2. codemechanic says:

    Hi Derek,

    I can download it. Which link you are referring to?

  3. Its like ‘unite’ but better =]

    I’ll try it right now!

  4. pitulloz says:

    I hear tonido long before opera unite announced. I think opera copies tonido’s idea.

  5. j_king says:

    I’m a pretty huge fan of XUL. A XULrunner interface on webkit could be pretty nice.

    The problem is that I’ve tried browsers other than Firefox and the change just never sticks. I’m married to the plugins really: vimperator, firebug, etc.

    Tonido should try to be as platform neutral as possible anyway. As long as it remains easy to install and add new apps, it’s doing the right thing.

  6. worker says:

    I have been testing Unite since February 2008 and I’m not even an Opera employee (I’m in their internal volunteer testers group). So the development of Unite probably started in 2007 if not earlier. So when did you hear tonido?

  7. Derek W. says:

    I still can’t download it. All that happens is I get immediately redirected to tonidoplug.com. Can you just send me the url to the file? Why do I have to go through some PHP script?

  8. codemechanic says:

    Hi Derek,
    Sorry for the trouble. Can you try this links?

    windows: http://www.tonido.com/download.php?TonidoSetup.exe
    mac : http://www.tonido.com/download.php?TonidoSetup.dmg
    linux : http://www.tonido.com/download.php?TonidoSetup_i686.deb

    Regards,
    Tonido Team

  9. Todd says:

    Just a note that Opera isn’t just a pure web play as it includes a heavy duty email client if one chooses to use it. The email, “M2″, in Opera 10 is very slick – certainly worth a look if you’ve given up on it in the past.

  10. qlue says:

    If you can provide a practical alternative to the pc for moblogger, then I have a market for you. :)

  11. codemechanic says:

    Hi qlue,
    Can you elaborate little more? Are you referring to moblogger project in sourceforge?

  12. The Doctor says:

    Should I consider this post notice that Tonido (not the devkit, as already indicated) fact of a closed-source application?

  13. Madhan says:

    @thedoctor I don’t think so. Some Tonido apps are becoming open source as previously mentioned. Thots is becoming GPL.

  14. testking says:

    Really interesting one, i much appreciate. Thanks for sharing the information.

  15. Quan says:

    I’m using Tonido with Firefox 3.6 beta. Your ToniFox doesn’t work on it. Instead of building your own browser, I think you should take care more of browser extension, creating extensions for all existed browsers.

  16. kguske says:

    Sorry to be late to this party, but the only way Opera Unite poses a threat to Tonido is as a distraction to waste time on dead-end projects like a Tonido browser. Focus on the apps, and the let the browser companies focus on browsers.

    Don’t take Unite as an attack on Tonido. Even this article highlights the futility: Opera is trying to expand its horizons by adding web server functionality, and it’s got a good start on applications.

    But Unite doesn’t (yet) have online backup (a la CrashPlan) or VoIP telephony (a la magicJack) – two apps that would specifically make TonidoPlug VERY attractive to many people (I love my TonidoPlug, by the way…). On that note: MJ says they will have a Linux client in Q1 2010 (they’ve been talking about it since 2008), but CrashPlan already has a Linux client.

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