Opera Mini for iPhone -- SPE at Mobile World Congress 2010

Opera Mini on iPhone

We had the opportunity at Mobile World Congress to sit down with Opera co-founder Jon S. von Tetzchner Jon S. von Tetzchner and talk Opera Mini browser for iPhone. Now the good news: We've seen the Opera Mini browser on the iPhone, and it is wonderful. The bad news: While we can talk about it till the cows come home, we weren't allowed to take video or even a still picture of it. Them's the breaks.

Assuming Apple allows it in the App Store -- and Opera is pretty confident that it will be -- what iPhone owners would get is for all intents and purposes the same Opera experience we know from Windows Mobile and Nokia phones.

The iPhone's lack of multitasking -- erm, one-app -at-a-time feature -- also isn't a problem. You can duck out of Opera Mobile and then hop right back in without losing where you were browsing or the app having to completely reload itself.

All in all, it looked and felt like a really good browsing experience, and is a choice that iPhone owners should have. So write your congressman. Write your senator. And cross your fingers that the App Store gods give Opera Mini their blessing.

Phil Nickinson

Phil is a recovering print journalist, editor of Android Central, subtitles and street signs

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Opera Mini for iPhone -- SPE at Mobile World Congress 2010

28 Comments

With all due honesty it's not the surfing that sends the data usage sky high on the iPhone , it's more the streaming/google maps/gps/radio apps . Secondly while I was a huge fan of opera as a blackberry user , safari is hands down the best mobile browser . Hard to get excited about number two being released when you have number 1 on your side, don't get me wrong I will download it BUT unless it offers flash ( which it won't ) or ability to download file to the iPhone ( doubtful) I don't really see it being a threat to safari at all , however this is capitalism and competation equals inovation so let's hope we see opera on the iPhone and other browsers as well .

I can understand using opera on winmo, because pocket IE is (or at leats was when i last used it) dire.
If apple approves this (which i cant see happening under their duplicated functionality rules) they will have an uphill battle to compete with what is agreeably the best mobile browser out there. Mobile Safari.

I wasn't aware we had a browser problem on iPhone. :)
Apart from Flash, I like Safari just fine. Maybe a review sometime soon that shows key points where it bests Safari. Otherwise, me no get it.

Let Apple block it. Will love to see their ass sued by the European Union in no time.
Sorry fanboys, i like having choice on MY phone.

Apple holds too much power, Opera, Adobe Flash Player, google updates and anyone else should promote open system by releasing them for people with jailbroken phone. I regret getting an iPhone for this reason.

Doesn't this "duplicate features that come with the iPhone". Anybody remember the google voice debacle?

@KB it does, technically. But, there are at least dozen alternative browsers in App Store (Check out iDroid Mini, it's awesome).
"Duplicated functionality" is just an excuse Apple uses when it decides not to let someone on their turf. There are audio players, browsers and mail clients in App Store.
Apple just requires any browser to be just an alternative shell for their WebKit engine. That's why Opera probably won't make it to app store.

If you were streaming audio via Opera Mini, would it cut out once you closed the app? That'd be disappointing because I'm always streaming stuff on Safari while doing other stuff.

Yes it would cut out since third party app can't run in the background like apple apps. I know this should be approved but I doubt it. If apple let's this in then that opens the door for Mozilla, Microsoft, and Google.
They might get sued or the EU might get in a tizzy, but the iPhone is not Microsoft and Windows yet with 90% market share.

No it would not cut out read the whole article if you leave the app it restarts at the same place once you reopen it. Thier are a few apps creating thier own multitasking thier is an fm radio app allowing multitasking as well.

If I wanted Opera, I wouldve chosen a Windows Mobile handset, Blackberry, or any other inferior device on the market. I chose an iPhone, so I'll go with what is undoubtedly the best mobile browser out there, accompanied with STILL the best hardware and user interface IMO.
All the pissers and moaners screaming "my phone, my choice" need to direct their attention to the nice warm glass of shut the hell up, located directly in front of them....

IMO you haven't even touched Opera on the iphone/ipod so you need to shut your mouth. Opera Mini/Mobile has many features I wish Safari had. I don't see having more options as a bad thing.

What if when you buy a car they would do the same thing, you can't tint you windows, can't change you sound system and so on.. or anything else that we buy. I could see if they where renting the stuff out but how can a company hold so much power on what we can put on our phone once it's ours? I which company would stop selling their stuff on Itunes and start selling their stuff on other websites. I should have never let go my HTC HD, I made the biggest mistake leaving that go because I wanted the Ipod on my phone. Apple makes really good product but we are individuals and we should all be able to personalise our phone and tweak it to our liking. My old HTC HD was nothing like it was sold to me, it was a great maching but I keep buying the newest phone on the market every year and this year I f_cked up.

El, that may very well be the worst analogy i've ever read.
You own your phone, you can do whatever you want to do with it, but YOU also agreed to Apple's/AT&T TOS, they're not obligated to provide services outside of what they explicitly state that they'll offer... Nothing's holding you back from Jailbreaking your phone, dipping it in hot wax, or whatever else you decide to do with it, but do so with the notion that you're breaking the agreement that YOU AGREED TO.
AT&T didn't force anyone into purchasing iPhone's and signing contracts, nor did Apple force anyone to agree to iTunes TOS, if you check the little box yes then, DON'T COME HERE TO COMPLAIN!

Opera Mini might get approved because it's not really a web browser, it's a proxy browser. It's not doing any code interpretation, which is what's banned by the App Store.
Basically, when you send a request via Opera Mini, the page you're requesting is actually fetched by Opera's servers, crunched down with their special compression format, and then sent in that format to your "browser" which is essentially just showing you an interactive picture. If many people request the same page, it's probably very fast at sending it back because it's already crunched on their end.
However, it does mean they'll break SSL if you're trying to connect to a banking site, for example, so while I might use this if I'm roaming and want to save on data, I wouldn't use it to log into financial info or something else I really care about from a security stand point.
In other words, it's so different from Mobile Safari (which is renders HTML, CSS, and JavaScript locally) that it might have a shot of getting in.
FireFox is whole other kettle of fish, as it's a real browser and an interpreter, which brings with it not only competition, but security exploits all its own -- and Apple hates not controlling what they consider to be infrastructure-level code.

5% speed increase would be nice, I'd like to see some variety in these fronts, I still want my google voice app apple

I don't even want to imagine the chaos Opera mini is going to cause in the iPhone webapp space. Is an Opera optimized app iPhone ready or not? (Well, not since you don't get the iPhone with Opera on it). If they accept Opera then they should accept Firefox as well. Then we get into the web desktop crap CSS. Try using CSS3 on desktop, you have to write every property multiple times, once with webkit- once with moz- and so on.
And then the obvious one: why the hell would you use a browser that is multiple times slower and has a much different support for CSS3. And then why the hell would you build a webapp for that?

Apple should just partner up with Opera & make a better web experience! :)
P.s. I already got a name for the browser, just incase if they do pair up..
Safarpra! :D (haha, what an ugly name.)

Would be interesting to try out, I wonder though why other phones cant provide that fast of an experience with Opera?