Opera might be facing some tough competition in the mobile browser world. Granted, the choices of the past have not been that stellar. I have found IE for Windows Mobile to be absolutely awful and most other phone browsers I've used weren't anything to write home about either. Minor annoyances aside, Opera Mobile performed well for me but I was turned off by the fact I'd eventually have to pay for it.

Now with Mozilla entering into the mobile world with Firefox Mobile and another company doing the same with Skyfire, Opera might have to change their marketing strategy. Opera Mini may be free, but Mobile is not – and that is what the free Skyfire as well as Firefox Mobile will compete against. A senior VP for Opera made a statement recently that they haven't decided their course of action for Opera Mobile, which may indicate they are considering switching it to a free product. Faster and more functional phones means more reliance on good software therein, and with two companies known for decent browsers competing for space it could prove to be very interesting. We'll be going from really only one company offering a decent mobile browser to potentially having three. Opera making it a free product is certainly plausible - they did exactly that with their desktop browser, largely in part due to the stunning success of Firefox.

And considering how often I make use of a mobile browser, if it comes down to paying for something or getting it for free – well, there's no contest.