Blog Post

Opera Mini Brings Choice To The App Store

After much debate and speculation as to whether or not Apple (s aapl) would accept it, Opera’s mobile browser, known as Opera Mini, is now finally available for the iPhone and can be downloaded from the App Store.

The free browser application, which prides itself on its speed, was sent off to Apple for approval on March 23, nearly three weeks ago, and at the time many were unsure as to what Apple’s final decision would be. Therefore, today’s decision comes as somewhat of a welcome surprise.

But does this move display a possible turn in Apple’s strict policy on not allowing apps that compete with the pre-installed software applications, in this case Safari? It would seem not, as Opera has cleverly made its browser just different enough to not upset the guys in Cupertino. Unlike Safari, Opera Mini does not make use of the WebKit engine, instead, the new mobile browser loads websites via a proxy, which in turn means pages are not rendered directly on the device itself, bypassing any possible problems Apple may have with how code is seen.

Opera’s proxy compresses up-to 90 percent of data, resulting in a faster load time. The app also promises to reduce bandwidth consumption. In addition to packing in attractive speed features, the app also boasts a feature similar to that of Safari’s Top Sites. Known as Speed Dial, the feature offers visual access to nine of your favorite sites.

Whether this will open the app store up to more browser choice is yet to be seen, but the introduction of Opera’s browser to the store is an interesting one. You can find out more about Opera’s journey to the app store in Liam’s post.

Related GigaOM Pro Research: What Does the Future Hold For Browsers?

14 Responses to “Opera Mini Brings Choice To The App Store”

  1. Ulf Nilsson

    One of nice things about the Safari browser is all the specially designed pages that fit the browser and the size of the iPhone window. If these are triggered by the browser tag, then wouldn’t Safari be preferred anyway?

    It is always good to have Opera for browsing general Internet sites, though.

  2. Gazoobee

    Anyone know if it warns the user when they go to a secure site? What happens if you go to an https site? They have to put up some kind of warning, right?

  3. Cold Water

    Nobody should delude themselves here. Apple is just pre-empting Opera from taking another complaint to the EU, which turns them into cold hard cash. Firefox would not have been approved.

  4. Elmer Fudd

    This is great news and shows that Apple is not as closed a system as many believed. And don’t forget that Apple support Open standards regarding content and protocols as much as anybody. Anybody on the fence should now be willing to hop on board the Apple train and enjoy all the goodness in the merry land of unicorns and rainbows. :-)

    • Those all use the webkit engine to render the sites, which is within the development agreement. Oversimplifying it, the other browsers approved so far take Safari’s engine and coat it with a new color of paint.

      Opera on the other hand says, hey, here’s a window through which you can see our own engine from afar. It’s an interesting approach, if only because its fairly novel.

      I’ve been using it, and I like it. The tabbed browsing works better than safari and speed dial is great. But the interface elements are a little less refined and the rendering is mixed, if generally good.

      I may actually give this a spin as my default iPhone browser.