from the wot,-no-kitchen-sink? dept.
Vivaldi has always been one of the more interesting of the Chromium-based browsers, in no small part thanks to its emphasis on building tools for power users in a privacy-centric package, but also because of its pedigree, with Opera's outspoken former CEO Jon von Tetzchner as its co-founder and CEO. Today, the Vivaldi team is launching version 4.0 of its browser and with that, it's introducing a slew of new features that, among many other things, include the beta of new built-in mail, calendar and RSS clients, as well as the launch of Vivaldi Translate, a privacy-friendly translation service hosted on the company's own servers and powered by Lingvanex.
Vivaldi isn't new to email clients. The company has long offered a webmail service, for example. But building an offline email client into the browser — as well as a calendar client — almost feels like a return to the early days of browsers, like Netscape Navigator and Opera, when having these additional built-in features was almost standard. Von Tetzchner argues that for a lot of browser vendors, doing away with those features was about steering users into certain directions (including their own webmail clients).
"We've chosen to say, 'okay, we don't want to have the business model decide what we do. We rather focus on what the users want.' And I think there's a significant value [in a built-in email client]. Most all of us use email — at varying levels, some of use it a lot, some less, but everyone basically has at least one email account," he said. "So having a good client for that, that's kind of where we're coming from. And, I mean, we obviously did a lot of those things at Opera — some of them we didn't — and we are filling a gap with what Opera used to be doing. And now at Vivaldi, we are doing those things, but also a lot more. We never did a calendar at Opera."
(...) As of now Vivaldi isn't profitable. It generates some revenue from preinstalled bookmarks and search engine partnerships. But von Tetzchner argues that Vivaldi just needs to increase its user base a bit more to become a sustainable company. He seems comfortable with that idea — and the fact that its per-user revenue is relatively low. "We've done this before and we've seen this work. It takes time to build a company like ours," he said. "I hope people are liking what we're building — that's kind of the feel I get — people are really liking what we're building. And then kind of gradually, we'll get enough users to pay the bills and then we take it from there."