IBM and Opera to develop multimodal Web browser

A Web browser that will allow a single mobile device to provide Internet and voice information access is being developed in a venture between IBM Corp. and Opera Software ASA.

In an announcement Wednesday, the two companies said the beta version of the new browser is expected this fall. The multimodal browser will be based on the XHTML+Voice (X+V) specification, which will allow data and voice access.

IBM and Oslo-based Opera have worked on related projects in the past. Last year, IBM and Opera joined Motorola Inc. in developing and submitting the X+V multimodal standard to the World Wide Web Consortium standards body.

Multimodal technology allows the interchangeable use of various types of input and output, such as voice commands, keypads or stylus, in the same interaction.

“We look forward to seeing how this multimodal browser will help shape the evolution of the mobile and wireless computing as we move into this next phase of e-business,” Jon von Tetzchner, Opera’s CEO, said in a statement.