Opera is launching a version of its Mini mobile browser designed for use on the iPhone, the Norwegian browser company announced today. The new browser will be demonstrated at next week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Opera says. But when the Mini browser might be available on the iPhone is a big question, as the company has not yet submitted it to Apple for inclusion in the App Store.
Opera claims its Mini browser is the "world's most popular mobile browser." It's designed to offer a speedier browsing experience, as much of the Web content is compressed for faster delivery. Opera Mini is available as a free download from m.opera.com on your mobile phone; Opera says that the browser works on most mobile phones.
But the iPhone, of course, is not like most mobile phones, as Apple has attempted to retain tight control over which apps can -- and can't -- run on the device. The company approves all apps that appear in the App Store, and has come under fire for its refusal to accept apps (like Google Voice) that duplicate the functionality of software already found on the iPhone. Opera Mini would certainly fall into that camp, as it would compete directly with Apple's Safari browser.
Opera seems confident that Mini will gain approval, and the company's decision to announce the browser before submitting it to Apple for approval can be seen as something of a preemptive strike. Now that news of the app has been made public, Apple's decision to accept or reject it will have to be public too.
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