11 Comments

Summary:

Opera says the iPhone is the most used device for its Opera Mini browser in the U.S. But the monthly page view numbers don’t support that data. Weigh in on our poll so we can see how many of you are really using Opera Mini.

Some 2.6 million unique iPhone owners are using Opera Mini, according to its maker’s latest State of the Mobile Web report, the first full dataset since the browser arrived for Apple’s iPhone last month. In fact, the iPhone now tops the U.S. list of devices on which Opera Mini is used and is No. 3 on a worldwide basis. But while that sounds good, some of the numbers don’t seem to add up.

For starters, in light of the Opera Mini’s reported 58.9 million users in April, 2.6 million of them using the browser on an iPhone is nothing to sneeze at. And given historical data showing iPhone web use to be high, even when its worldwide market share is low, I’d expect them to greatly boost the overall page views served by Opera Mini. But that’s not the case as shown by Opera’s own graph of PVs in April:

In fact, the browser’s page view trend showed higher growth rates prior to the availability of Opera Mini on the iPhone, not after it. February is an outlier, but that’s likely due to having fewer days in the month. Opera says that in April, the 26.3 million page views transcoded was a scant 1.6 percent higher than in March. Wouldn’t you expect that the web-hungry iPhones would cause April’s numbers to jump? They would — if iPhone users were actually using Opera Mini. Much as I suspected would happen, I believe that Opera Mini is getting installed on iPhones, but it’s not actually being used for browsing in any significant way.

At last check, Opera Mini was ranked as the No. 3 free productivity application in Apple’s iTunes Store, which adds credence to the installation base. But the current version of Opera Mini has a solidly mediocre three-star rating, with 1,495 users giving it five stars and a nearly equal 1,424 users rating it with just one. Notably, you can’t make Opera Mini the default browser on an iPhone.

Opera’s data is on one side of the ring, while my own thoughts are in the other. Maybe this is a good time to for our readers that own an iPhone or iPod touch to cast the final punch. Forget what Opera says about who uses Opera Mini on the iPhone — the real question is: Do you?

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  1. Actually, according to Opera, people aren’t just downloading OM on the iPhone, but also using it.

  2. Arkid Mitra Friday, May 28, 2010

    The major part of the problem is that opera cannot be made the default browser..I use the opera when I have a website in mind which is normally not the case with iPhones.Mostly browser opens through app referrals and hence in safari..

    1. Hardly Opera’s fault…

  3. Brian S Hall Friday, May 28, 2010

    The question is not do you use Opera on the iPhone, it’s do you use it for more than a week?

    For me, an Opera user on my Mac, the iPhone version wasn’t that great.

  4. On my iPod 3g, it’s slower than safari over wifi, so I only use it when tethering to my phone.

  5. The problem with Opera Mini is that all requests go through its caching servers in order to speed delivery. That works ok for high traffic pages, not so well for unique addresses. So, good for some things not others. Not a replacement for Safari, which is as fast or faster in many things, but a nice choice to have. If you care. Perhaps a good poll would be “who cares”?

    1. Uh.

      It never was positioned as a REPLACEMENT for Safari. It was positioned as complementing Safari.

      What do you mean “not so well for unique addresses”? Opera Mini compresses ALL sites, regardless of whether they are “unique” or not.

  6. Opera is a fantastic browser for certain situations. Personally, it is not a replacement for Safari, but a filter for crappy websites that cannot or should not be viewed on mobile. On the Blackberry, it was a requirement to create the ability to browse effectively on the device. On the iPhone it is less necessary.

    I have downloaded Opera, but rarely use it. Frankly, I rarely use Safari, most of my mobile data uses are through applications or widgets on the iPhone. It is task oriented. But, that is actually one of the strengths of the Opera experience, and one reason it was so strong in the Blackberry environment. It fit the text experience.

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