Opera's browser and it's engine, Presto, are dead.
Opera is building a new browser using Chromium. They can still add value on top of that - Opera has more things than just a browser, they have their server-side rendering, ad network and analytics, etc. They can integrate those with a version of Chrome that has Opera branding and there could be value in that.
Note also that to include Chrome on your phone means a deal with Google. Typically that means using all Google services (docs, mail, app store). If you want to use something else, you can't use Chrome, so that might be an opportunity for Opera.
I kind of hope they would keep their "batteries included" philosophy. Meaning, retaining all the built-in functionality that you'd need 10+ extensions/plugins for in other browsers. For instance, you can't even change or add keyboard shortcuts in Chrome without an extension (at least, I couldn't figure out how to do it, and searching the web just pointed me to extensions).
Other features I use daily or at least weekly are: quick preferences (F12), per-site preferences, content-blocker, stylesheet switcher, paste-and-go (Chrome has this now, but not as a keyboard shortcut), go-to-parent-directory and way too many keyboard shortcuts to name here.
I'm sure I could get these features with a few choice extensions in Chrome, but I'd have to figure out which are the good ones first, and hope they play nice with eachother.
Either way, this is dark news nonetheless. I was somewhat positive about the switch to webkit/chromium but laying off this many people is bad for morale, bad for the product and of course most bad for the people that just lost their job.