The Heat Is On: Opera Mini Browser Submitted to App Store
Posted 03/23/2010 at 5:40am | by J.R. Bookwalter
As good as Mobile Safari is on the iPhone and iPod touch, there are a lot of users who would like an alternate choice. Assuming that Apple agrees, they may soon get their chance.
The New York Times is reporting that Norwegian browser firm Opera Software has announced Tuesday that they have submitted Opera Mini to the App Store. This is a somewhat significant event, since the company boasts that “Opera is the most-used browser on mobile devices” -- including Windows Mobile, Google’s Android and even the Nintendo DS.
Of course, Apple has historically been against apps that might “duplicate the functionality” of their own creations, with the browser likely being one of them. Cupertino allows developers to embed Mobile Safari in their own applications to forego the need to leave an app to browse the web, but that’s been about it.
So what can we expect in Opera Mini, should it get approved? “The new browser loaded pages extremely quickly and manages to integrate some unique features that are currently available in its desktop browser,” writes Nick Bilton of the Times. “Some of the highlights include unlimited tabbed browsing and the ability to search the content of a web page -- an important feature that is currently unavailable on the Safari web browser made by Apple.”
However, one big Mobile Safari feature is currently missing in action: There’s no resizing a page via pinch to zoom. Opera’s chief executive Jon Stephenson on Tetzchner claims that capability “could” be added to the software later via an update.
Early reports have found that Opera is faster than Mobile Safari, a trick likely due to Opera Mini using server-side rendering, which “compresses most aspects of a web site on a server, sometimes reducing the load time of 90 percent of a web page” before sending it to the browser.
So now the ball is in Apple’s court -- given how they’ve recently loosened up about streaming over 3G, there’s always a chance. We’ll be keeping an eye out for Opera Mini for iPhone, at any rate.