On March 23, Opera Software ASA officially submitted the Opera Mini browser to the iPhone App Store. This is a big deal to me, even though I am not an iPhone user.
First of all, I am a big Opera browser fan. Many people like Firefox or Safari but Opera seems to suit my tastes best. Sure I have issues where some sites “make” me go into Internet Explorer (even though the web code is fully functional in Opera), but Internet Explorer and Opera are the only web browsers I use. I think web statistics point Opera in the sub-5% of all browser traffic, but a very fast riser in the mobile phone segment. This is especially true in Europe and Africa.
I have used Opera Mini on a BlackBerry as well as on a Palm device. I use it over the built-in browsers for added functionality, including tabbed browsing on the handhelds. The experience just feels better with the smoother interface and additional feature support.
The story here is whether or not Apple will accept it, as there is a preference it seems for the Safari browser to be the exclusive iPhone browser. I believe people should have a choice of browsers, and hope that Opera Mini will be approved as an iPhone app.
One efficiency of Opera Mini is that it uses a compression technology to reduce traffic over the 2G (or higher) networks at a reported 90% or higher. Considering all of the negative press associated with the AT&T network, any efficiency would be welcomed it seems. If any iPhone users can confirm if the Safari browser is a static application (non-removable) , that would be nice to know.