MWC: Opera To Preview Mini Browser for Apple iPhone

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Opera is to offer delegates at the upcoming Mobile World Congress a sneak preview of the Opera Mini browser for the iPhone

Opera Software is pressing ahead with plans to preview its Mini browser for the iPhone at the Mobile World Congress, despite Apple not permitting any browsers other than Safari on its handset.

Opera said that it will offer the preview to journalists and partners at the show.

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“We are thrilled to offer journalists and partners an exclusive preview of Opera Mini for iPhone during the year’s biggest mobile event,” said Jon von Tetzchner, co-founder of Opera Software. “This is a unique opportunity to introduce the fast, feature-rich Opera Mini experience for the iPhone, and to showcase our latest beta releases of Opera Mobile and Opera Mini on other platforms and devices. Opera’s mission is to bring the web to the world, and by making Opera Mini available on yet another platform, we are one step closer.”

This development is something of a u-turn for Opera. Last May, Von Tetzchner told eWEEK Europe UK that the iPhone’s impact on mobile web page views was over-rated.

Opera said that its Mini browser uses compression technology to reduce data download size. This, it says, results in significantly faster web-page loading and reduces data surcharges.

Opera Software essentially has two browsers aimed at the handset market. Opera Mini is free-of-charge and is a “lite” version of Opera Mobile, which is a more fully featured mobile browser, offering “a richer browsing experience for smartphones, while still giving you a fast and full web experience.”

But why develop a browser for the iPhone if Apple does not allow any browser other than Safari?

“From our side we want to bring Opera Mini to iPhone users, and we do not have any reason why it should be rejected,” an Opera Software spokeswoman told eWEEK Europe UK.

She confirmed however that Opera has not submitted the browser to Apple’s App store.

“You will have to wait and see when we make the announcement about submitting it,” she said. “We hope that Apple will not deny their iPhone users a choice. From our side, we want the world to get the best Internet experience on any device, and that is what this announcement is about.”