Apple Does the Right Thing by Opera

Apple has approved Opera’s Mini browser for distribution through the app store, likely within the next 24 hours. This means that mobile Firefox will probably be submitted and approved as well. Good for Apple. They did the politically and legally correct thing here.

I saw Opera for the iPhone in action at CTIA and it seemed very fast. The speed dial, tabbed browsing and other features will be welcome to iPhone users. It will even improve mobile Web browsing performance on AT&T’s network because of its compression approach. There’s even a “multi-tasking” feel to the operation (before the arrival of OS 4). 

Here’s a “preview video” of Opera on the iPhone produced in advance of the Barcelona Mobile World Congress, where it was first introduced:

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Opera said earlier today that the company had 100 million users, half of which came from downloads and usage of the Opera Mini mobile browser. 


Update: CNET has some additional insight into why Opera’s browser may have been accepted and what might make it an exception:

At the CTIA conference in March, Opera’s founder and former CEO Jon von Tetzchner told CNET that Opera stood a strong chance of getting Opera Mini accepted into the App Store through a loophole. Unlike many Web browsers, Opera Mini doesn’t technically request and pull down Web pages through its own native code. Instead, Opera Mini is what’s called a proxy browser because it sends Web page requests to Opera’s servers, which then compress the Web page before sending it back to the phone.

 I’ve now been using the browser for several hours: no pinch and zoom, noticeably faster than Safari but not a “Safari killer” by any means.