Opera's Mobile Browser Surpasses iPhone's Safari
Apple and Opera have been duking it out to be the top mobile browser provider for a while, according to data from StatCounter.
Opera overtook Apple's mobile Safari as the most popular browser for a phone in May, according to data from StatCounter.
Opera captured 24.6% of all Internet pages that were downloaded to a mobile device, and the iPhone had 22.3%, StatCounter said. Opera has the advantage of being able to have its mobile browsers loaded on a plethora of cell phones and smartphones, while the mobile Safari browser is only on Apple's mobile products. Additionally, Opera's mobile browsers use server-side compression to make it easier for less-sophisticated handsets to get full access to the Web on the go.
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"Opera began the year in the number one slot but iPhone overtook it in February," StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen said in a statement. "It will be fascinating to watch how this battle plays out over the year."
The iPhone's browser is widely considered the best-in-class mobile browsing experience, as it incorporates multitouch technology for zooming and panning. One weakness to the browser is the inability to play Adobe Flash videos, which are prevalent on sites like YouTube and Hulu. Apple and Adobe likely won't work out a deal to bring Flash to the iPhone, but the upcoming 3.0 software should enable Web video through HTML 5.
Nokia was in third place with nearly 18% of the market, and its WebKit-based browser is capable of playing Flash. As mobile Web usage continues to grow, the browser is becoming an important part of the experience and multiple companies are trying to capitalize on that market. Mozilla is bringing a version of its Firefox browser to cell phones, and its Fennec browser is slated to be released by the end of the year.
With strong browsers like Skyfire, smartphones could eventually replace your laptop as a mobile computing device. InformationWeek analyzed how handhelds are becoming over-the-air portals for enterprise apps, and the report can be downloaded here (registration required).