Opera Mini Smokes iPhone's Safari Browser
Las Vegas – The Opera Software company says Apple should approve its Opera Mini Web browser for use on the iPhone because it is not "technically a browser" and thus doesn't compete with the iPhone's native browser, Safari.
Apple is known to reject apps if they duplicate native iPhone features, but Opera argues its Opera Mini app works differently from the iPhone's Safari.
What this means is that unlike Safari, Opera Mini 5 doesn't use the iPhone's processor to render Web pages. Instead, it sends requests to Opera computer servers located around the world.
The computers do the computational heavy lifting and then send back compressed versions of Web pages to be displayed in the Opera Mini app.
For this reason, Opera Mini is not a Web browser , but "an enabler," Forrester told TechNewsDaily. "We believe there's enough differentiation between Safari and Opera Mini for both of them to coexist [on the iPhone]."
In a hands-on demonstration here at the CTIA Wireless conference, Opera Mini was very responsive and loaded Web pages significantly faster than Safari because the Web pages are sent back compressed.
"On average, we see about 80 to 90 percent compression," Forrester explained. "The amount of compression depends on how image rich a Website is. A small Website with just text does not get compressed as much as a large Website like the New York Times or the BBC."
Like Safari, Opera Mini doesn't display Flash, but Opera's reasons for disabling the feature is different from Apple's, which says Flash is too resource intensive on the iPhone .
"It's a design decision that we've made at the moment," Forrester said. "We could render Flash and send it back, but it wouldn't be interactive."