Opera Mini is Now Number One in App Store
iPhone users wasted no time in downloading the new Opera Mini Web browser [App Store, Free], putting the app in the number one free download slot in 22 international app stores. The new browser is the first true third party web browser to appear on Apple’s iPhone OS.
When Opera originally announced plans to release a version of their browser for the iPhone, many were skeptical that it would be allowed entry into the app store. In the past there have been numerous cases of Apple rejecting apps that “duplicated functionality” of their core apps, such as Mail or the Phone app. Opera Mini was most likely accepted because it is a different kind of web browser than Safari. One of the major differences between the two browsers is how they render and display web pages.
Mobile Safari is a full web browser that renders a web page and displays the page using it’s own resources, in the same way as Desktop Safari or most other browsers do on the computer. Opera Mini is a “proxy browser,” which means that when a user enters a website URL, the entire page is rendered on Opera’s server, and then compressed in a small file and sent to the user’s iPhone.
Opera reports on their website that this rendering and compression can speed up the web browsing experience for the user, especially when the iPhone is stuck on a slow cellular connection. However, this method can occasionally have compatibility issues with the web page, and does not allow for the same advanced features that are supported by Mobile Safari.
In the meantime, Opera Mini has been an incredibly popular download. It seems that for many users, the new browser is at least worth checking out, and could be a compelling alternative to the iPhone’s mainstream offerings.