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3/23/2010
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Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Opera Hopes For A Blessing From Apple

Today Opera Software submitted its Opera Mini browser to Apple. Opera believes that Apple will approve the application, which delivers a robust mobile browsing experience on the iPhone. Will it happen? The ball is in Apple's court. In the mean time, be sure to check out some video we have of the new browser.

Today Opera Software submitted its Opera Mini browser to Apple. Opera believes that Apple will approve the application, which delivers a robust mobile browsing experience on the iPhone. Will it happen? The ball is in Apple's court. In the mean time, be sure to check out some video we have of the new browser.Opera executives shrugged their shoulders when asked if they really think Apple is going to approve the Opera Mini browser for the iPhone. Apple is in charge of the iPhone Apps Store, and it will be the one to make the call. Opera submitted the application today.

Opera believes that it should be approved because it behaves differently from the native iPhone Safari browser. Rather than render web sites locally on the handset it compresses and renders them on Opera's server, and then pushes out an image of the web site to the iPhone.

Opera was demonstrating how fast Opera Mini works via GPRS networks. In case you've forgotten, GPRS is slower than 2.5G EDGE data. GPRS' heyday was about six or seven years ago. Even over GPRS, Opera Mini was faster than the iPhone's native Safari browser when the iPhone was in 3G mode. It was faster at rendering every site I visited. It loaded the full HTML version of Amazon.com faster than the iPhone loaded the mobile version of Amazon.com. It is fast, Fast, FAST. Speed isn't everything, of course.

Opera Mini offers a lot of interesting features that make mobile browsing better. Like Safari, it supports multiple tabs. Unlike Safari, the tabs can be viewed without forcing the user to leave their current Web page. The tabs appear like a deck of cards below the browser window, and can be shuffled about. Opera said it has not discovered a limit to the number of tabs that can be open at one time.

Opera Mini for iPhone also carries forward its Speed Dial feature, which is a visual bookmarking tool that lets you populate up to nine favorite Web pages for speedier access. Users can sync Opera Mini to their desktop version of Opera, and port over their desktop Speed Dial and other bookmark settings.

Opera Mini does not offer pinch-to-zoom like Safari does (perhaps Opera Mini's one true flaw), but it zooms in and out at light speed when double-tapped. Opera indicated that it can't offer pinch-to-zoom due to SDK limitations enforced by Apple.

Here's a video of the browser in action:

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