Opera Submits iPhone Browser To Apple

Apple will determine whether Opera Mini, reviewed as speedier than Apple's Safari browser, will be offered in its App Store.
Opera Software on Tuesday submitted an iPhone version of its Mini browser to Apple, hoping to take its Apple Safari competitor to the computer maker's home turf.

Opera believes Apple should approve the Mini because it would provide iPhone users with a faster alternative to Safari. Apple has not said whether it will allow Opera to offer Mini through its online App Store.

Opera's smartphone browser is faster through its use of a proxy server. Run by Opera, the server first compresses and reformats Web pages before sending them to the Mini. A hands-on review by InformationWeek found that Mini "beats the pants off iPhone's Safari browser by a wide margin."

Which isn't to say that Opera's software bests Safari in all features. The browser does not offer pinch-to-zoom like Safari. Instead, the browser zooms in and out by double-tapping the iPhone screen. Opera claims it can't offer pinch-to-zoom because of limitations imposed by Apple on its software development kit.

Among the best features in Opera is the tabs tool that shows open tabs along the bottom in what looks like a deck of cards. A person can shuffle through the open tabs without leaving a Web page.

Opera introduced Mini for the iPhone in February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The company claims the browser has been installed onto more than 50 million mobile phones worldwide.

Earlier this month, Opera made the latest version of its mobile browser, Mini 5, available for phones powered by Google's Android operating system. The Mini has been found to be quicker on such handsets than the native Android browser.

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Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer