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Apple Approves Opera Mini For iPhone 284

Posted by kdawson
from the game-is-afoot dept.
andylim writes "Opera today announced its popular mobile browser, Opera Mini, has been approved for iPhone and iPod touch on the App Store. Opera Mini will be available in less than 24 hours, market by market, as a free download. Here's the download URL for when it goes live."
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Apple Approves Opera Mini For iPhone

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  • wtf (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    how did opera get this through the app store approval process!?
    • Re:wtf (Score:5, Informative)

      by Knutsi (959723) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @08:24AM (#31830032)

      how did opera get this through the app store approval process!?

      Because, as far as I understand, it is not really a browser, but rather a viewer for a remotely processed webpage: http://www.engadget.com/2010/02/17/opera-mini-on-iphone-is-fast-but-why/ [engadget.com]

      It allowed my old Sony Ericsson phone (can't remember which model, but it was not a smartphone) to have a Safari like zoomable web-browser of quite hight quality (:

      • indeed (Score:5, Informative)

        by Herve5 (879674) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @08:39AM (#31830146)

        Opera Mini is indeed a simple viewer for images remotely calculated on Opera servers.

        This has the advantage of lowering the data transmitted to your phone (actually cost-effective if you are volume-limited), and the disadvantage of providing some unexpected behaviors whenever local things like active buttons etc. are expected to be loaded on your device (I say *some*)

        In fact Opera also offers a full browser, named Opera Mobile, on all sorts of phones (on my Nokia for instance, aside Nok's one), but that one, Mobile, isn't ported on the iPhone. Wonder why ;-)

        • by Knutsi (959723)
          Yes, it's quite fascinating actually. If you go to http://www.kevs3d.co.uk/dev/asteroids/ [kevs3d.co.uk] (a Canvas based game) in Opera Mini on the iPhone, it gives you a frozen image from the game. Reload, and you get a frozen image as well, but form a different time in the game :D
        • by God'sDuck (837829)

          It also has the advantage of dramatically decreasing latency and processor needs, which present serious challenges for embedded devices even when there is scads of bandwidth available. On my Android phone (Verizon 3G and local WiFi), Opera Mini consistently smokes the built-in browser.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by theaveng (1243528)

            >>>Opera Mini consistently smokes the built-in browser.

            Because of that impressive demo (speed), I was considering getting Opera Mini for my cellphone. That is until I saw how much my provider charges for web browsing. $5 per 10 megabytes! I'd end-up with huge bills.

            Disappointing.

            Aside -

            I'm listening to a mother on CSPAN radio complain because she "only has dialup" and her son is at a disadvantage because of it. Of course she's asking government to give her free Broadband. Jeez. I have dialup

        • by theaveng (1243528)

          >>>Opera Mini is indeed a simple viewer for images

          Not even close to accurate. First off, having to download a full-screen GIF, JPEG, or Bitmap image would take a *long* time... longer than just processing the plain-text HTML directly. Here's what wikipedia says:

          "Opera Mini fetches all content through a proxy server that reformats web pages into a format more suitable for small screens. A page is compressed, then delivered to the phone in a markup language called OBML (Opera Binary Markup Langu

    • by sznupi (719324)

      Opera Mini doesn't really do one of big no-no things on Appstore, "having interpreter to run external code", etc.; it's a custom protocol client to connect with the full browser engine running on Opera servers (yes, O Mini can act on few js events, but apparently it was insignificant enough)

      Plus maybe Apple came to agree it's quite distinct in what it does from Safari - not as full featured (though it does give iPhone a tabbed browser now), but with its own strong points (largely conserving bandwith; BTW, m

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rarel (697734)

        (though it does give iPhone a tabbed browser now)

        Gotta say, I love tabbed browsing as much as any bloke but in all honesty, The Touch (and iPhone) Safari's way to switch between pages is more than ok for a mobile device.

        Now don't get me wrong, I was waiting for this and I'll get Opera Mini as soon as I get home tonight to see how it goes :) it's just that tabs weren't really a priority for that class imho

        • by sznupi (719324)

          I take it you'll be checking it out not only when at home, but also on Touch (and hence certainly WiFi)? In that case, I have to point out that it really shines primarilly when network connection is so-so.

      • by mdwh2 (535323)

        though it does give iPhone a tabbed browser now

        Wait - surely the Iphone has a tabbed browser, right? This is an honest question - what with all the praise of the browser being the best ever, surely it at least has tabbed browsing? (The reason why I love Opera Mobile so much.)

        • Re:wtf (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Anonymusing (1450747) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @09:34AM (#31830748)

          No, the iPhone's Safari does not have tabs, not in the way desktop Safari does. It's closer to a "virtual desktop" metaphor: you click a button to view a scrollable thumbnail list of open pages.

          Personally I think this works better than tabs, given the limited screen size and the sensitivity of the touch.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Myopic (18616)

            I think that's "the same". I've seen how the iPhone does it, and it's functionally similar to tabs, thus can reasonably synecdochally be called "tabs". And I agree with you -- the tabs are implemented that way because it is "better" for the type of device.

          • by mdwh2 (535323)

            Fair enough. And actually, this is how Opera Mobile works - the "tabs" is just referring to the feature, but it still has the same advantage of not taking up space. I don't think the implementation should matter (it reminds me of when people said that Opera on the desktop didn't used to have "tabs", because it wasn't implemented exactly the same way as Firefox, even though it still clearly had the feature).

            • by sznupi (719324)

              Though what mobile Safari does might be called substandard, it seems; it not only limits greatly the max number of "tabs" available (which is understandable given the device), it's actually pretty quick to throw out the data of background webpages, necessitating reload (this one I don't expect the Mini to do)

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by adamstew (909658)

          It does have "tabbed" browsing, in that you can have multiple browsing sessions going at the same time. However, they don't waste valuable screen real estate with a tab bar. In the regular tool bar there is a button that lets you switch between open browsing sessions. You can switch back and forth. Quite quickly.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        makes iPhone somehow more attractive in places where you can get it without contract and use with cheap prepaid SIM

        Is there anywhere in the Western hemisphere you can do that?

        • by sznupi (719324)

          Well, at least most of the UK is in the Western hemisphere. That place I'm sure of (about getting iPhone without contract), I wouldn't be surprised if there are more.

  • by the_one_wesp (1785252) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @08:17AM (#31829958)
    ...all powerful application overlord, for your unending generosity. How shall we ever repay you?
    • Re:Thank you... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mdwh2 (535323) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @09:12AM (#31830484) Journal

      Indeed - I just love that "Apple approves an application, when we thought they might not" is front page news. People are that thankful.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        My father grew up experiencing the highly-controlled economy of the 1950s and 1960s Soviet Union. I just showed him this Slashdot submission, and he said the headline reminded him of those he would occasionally see in the local newspaper of the town he grew up in.

        Whenever the government allowed somebody to get a vehicle (apparently a big deal in small towns in those days), there would be headlines like, "<person's name> has been approved for a <vehicle's name>."

        The similarities shouldn't be surp

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by khchung (462899)

        Indeed - I just love that "Apple approves an application, when we thought they might not" is front page news. People are that thankful.

        Rather, it is like "Duh. Apple actually approved the application, we were so damn sure they would NOT that we had already flamed them earlier, so we better put out another front page story to salvage some credibility!"

  • Negative reviews? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by solevita (967690) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @08:21AM (#31829998)
    The summary suggests that this has yet to be released, although the reviews on the linked site are all negative and all complain that Opera isn't as good as Safari. How do they know?.. Am I missing something?
  • by imamac (1083405) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @08:22AM (#31830002)
    And it seems to be incredibly fast. However, incredibly insecure from what I've heard. Also, the iPhone auto-correct for typing does not seem to work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Knutsi (959723)

      And it seems to be incredibly fast. However, incredibly insecure from what I've heard. Also, the iPhone auto-correct for typing does not seem to work.

      I've used it for a few hours now, and It's quite scary in fact. Where does the line go between my phone and Opera's servers that do all the processing? /:

    • by sznupi (719324) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @08:34AM (#31830102) Homepage

      "Incredibly insecure" is a gross overstatement. Whole traffic between it and Opera servers is encrypted. Only at the point of the proxy there's hypothetical weak point - but really, I'd trust Opera Software. Braking that trust would cost them dearly, they've shown over the years they can be trusted, they come from a place with a somehow better corporate culture...

      Or you can simply not use Opera Mini on the few webpages where the above might matter.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ProppaT (557551)

        I'd trust Opera more than any of the other browser publishers. Opera is in the browser business and that's just about it. They can't afford to put out a shoddy product like any of the other contenders....and they never do.

        • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@gmai l . com> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @08:49AM (#31830242)

          SCO is in the UNIX business and that is about it. They can't afford to effectively cease all of their traditional commerce and become a failed litigation house instead, dragging their name through the mud and trying to burn the industry to the ground.

          I never trust companies to do the right thing, no matter how insane they'd have to be to do otherwise.

          • by sznupi (719324)

            I take you also don't trust iPhone version of Safari or...pretty much most operating systems and browsers out there? (if not all - can you trust the binary you got? The compiler? ISP? Clerks at the bank or in public office?)

          • by Fnkmaster (89084)

            Granted, I don't 100% trust any company (or even non-profit - look at how the Mozilla Foundation seeks revenue). But for anything short of online banking or secret scheming against government entities, I think it's probably fine. Most of the browsing I do on my iPhone tends to be pretty innocuous stuff.

            And Opera mini is fast on the iPhone. And I do mean blazingly fast. Well worth the risk for general purpose browsing.

            When I really want to be secure with browsing, like online banking activities, I'll do

    • by Fnkmaster (89084) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @09:46AM (#31830908)

      It seems subjectively 3-4 times faster on average over wifi than Mobile Safari on my iPhone on several sites I quickly tested. Some sites were only marginally faster (maybe 20% to 40%) at initial loading, but the fact that you can go forward and backward without reloading and re-rendering the entire damned page like Mobile Safari does makes the experience sooooo much faster to skim through a site.

      This is just based on some wifi usage - so mostly CPU and rendering bound stuff, not network traffic bound stuff.

      Haven't tested it out over EDGE very extensively yet. I have an iPhone 3G unlocked, but use T-mobile so I'm stuck at EDGE speeds.

      One other critical observation - seems to burn through battery at about half the rate as heavy Safari browsing does. Again, not particularly surprising.

      2 mins of EDGE usage has me convinced about the back/forward without re-loading thing is a massive advantage in browsing when out of wifi range. Initial loading of some sites is still painfully slow as always with EDGE. But browsing of partially loaded pages is much smoother and actually works, unlike Mobile Safari where it often just hangs while it tries to finish loading a page on EDGE.

      Rendering quality is definitely not as good as Safari in some cases (NYTimes.com, for instance). But it's not bad, and the speedup is generally well worth it.

  • ...it will probably be approved.

    And to those not understanding the Flash issue, it really is about revenue. By allowing Flash, it removes authorization control from Apple. Like it or not, Apple maintains control, and will continue to maintain control. Anything that removes control will be rejected. Don't like it, move to another platform.

    • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999 @ g m a i l.com> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @09:06AM (#31830416)

      For thos of us who have used a Mac, the Flash issue is about performance. Have you ever used Flash on OS X? The result would be much the same on the iPhone (given that the core of iPhone OS is the same as OS X), except now there's no 2GHz+ CPU to make it look acceptable and all you have is a little ARM chip and a battery.

      If it was about control then they wouldn't be promoting Flash's replacement for the iPad and iPhone. It really is about performance.

      Don't just take my word for it - google "flash performance OSX" for a vast number of complaints about it. It really is hideous. Not just sluggish, but banging a 2Ghz core at 100% usage for website animations and video streams - ie, it drains the battery on your MacBook Pro rather quickly, and is one of the few things that can get the fans on my iMac to become audible.

      In fact, I just opened the Diablo 3 page and had it sit idle for about a minute or so and then had a quick look at the CPU use. This is a 2GHz Core2Duo, and whether it is that full-site-flash or a youtube video, or BBC iPlayer stream, the CPU usage looks exactly like this:

      http://img696.imageshack.us/img696/4771/flashosxperformance.jpg [imageshack.us]

      • by adamstew (909658) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @09:47AM (#31830910)

        Agreed. Flash player on windows doesn't have this problem, but Adobe seems to have actually cared about creating a good windows flash player.

        Flash Player on OSX is a resource hog. Adobe just isn't devoting the resources to it to make it work well on OSX. Steve Jobs wasn't kidding when he said that the majority of browser crashes on OSX come from flash. Anytime i've ever experienced safari crashing, it's because of flash.

        Now, if the people at Adobe pulled their thumbs out of their asses and got to work on creating a small, lightweight, and resource efficient flash player for OSX, then Steve might reconsider. Until they do, then i'm glad that it's not on my iPhone.

      • by sznupi (719324) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @10:05AM (#31831168) Homepage

        Though OTOH, when talking about "little ARM chip and a battery", there already is Flash player for that architecture which works surprisingly fine. Apple doesn't want to allow it.

      • by dc29A (636871) *

        If it was about control then they wouldn't be promoting Flash's replacement for the iPad and iPhone. It really is about performance.

        Apple has learned the hard way the platform lock in Microsoft was able to achieve. This is the main reason Flash and Flash compiled into Obj-C will never be allowed on iPhone. Performance and other technical excuses are just that, lame excuses. Apple doesn't want apps that can be either ported easily to other handhelds (CS5) or already run on other handhelds (Java or Flash). If they allow this, nothing will stop people from ditching their iPhones when their contracts expire and get an Android or WP7 phone,

      • I'm sorry, but it's about the ARM processor and not the OS. I have an N900 with the same CPU as the 3GS, and my phone has flash. It runs youtube fine. Games are obviously very slow, but performance is pretty acceptable.

    • by Duradin (1261418)

      Ya, it sucks that mean ol' Apple has banned all those web apps...

  • Not a Surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

    by foo fighter (151863) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @08:43AM (#31830186) Homepage

    If you understand how Opera Mini works and why Apple bans other browsers (hint: it is not because they retrieve and display web pages) you would not find this surprising at all.

    • by Goffee71 (628501)
      Indeed, when the anti-trust investigators come knocking, Apple can go "hey - look we let others play too! There's Google (or Bing or whoever) there's Opera - what closed system?"

      followed by "What? Flash? Neverheardofit!"
      • by Dog-Cow (21281)

        Even if Apple had a 100% monopoly, what they are doing would not be illegal.

        I really hope you get over your irrational hatred someday. It's not healthy.

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      There are a *ton* of alternative web browsers on the app store, although they all use WebKit. You can't drop your own render engine of choice on there, which I suppose Opera gets around with the new vpn-style system.

      You could even have a version of Firefox on the iPhone, as long as it used the WebKit engine already there instead of Gecko.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        In Soviet Russia you are free to vote for any party you wish, as long as it's a front for the official party.
        • by jo_ham (604554)

          The app store is not a democracy, nor does it even pretend to be one, if you don't like Apple's rules, you are free to not participate.

  • by Fasolt (1789082)
    I have Opera Mini installed on my Android phone, and I believe it is no threat to the Safari browser, as it does not support multi-touch and is generally not as sophisticated. It is very useful when only a slow network connection is available; however, I feel that if that is not the case, Safari will stay superior.
  • d/ld and installed last night. first impressions: renders pages better than safari (faint praise), very customizable, has pressure issues with touch screen (iTouch).

    verdict: good start but needs improvements, which opera historically provides in a timely fashion. will be using this extensively.

    - js.

    • by dingen (958134)

      renders pages better than safari

      If by "better" you mean "faster" than I agree, but if you mean "better looking" then I wonder if you need a pair of glasses. To me websites look a lot better in Safari!

    • by Fnkmaster (89084)

      I don't think the rendering quality is better than Safari. That's the only area where Mobile Safari sims to win though.

      However, the rendering speed is significantly, significantly faster. And the forward/back buttons are so much faster it's absurd (why Mobile Safari has this horrific need to reload and re-render pages it's already processed, I will never know, but often pressing the back button on EDGE is followed by a 45 second or minute long wait).

  • With the release of any iPhone / iPad app, the announcement really needs to end with the phrase, "for now." That is, the app has somehow been accepted by the current byzantine App Store approval process, but a future byzantine App Store decision may pull the app and confuse developers and customers alike. It's happened often enough that this should be a clear footnote on all App Store stories.

    • by Duradin (1261418)

      /., the land where Apple can do nothing right.

      Before submitting for review: evil Apple will never approve our browser, but we'll show them.
      After submitting for review: ahh, ohh, they approved our browser, umm, well, they'll pull some shenanigans to stop us, because Apple is EVIL!
      Later: please pay attention to us! Look at us not being repressed by the system! Hello? Anybody?

  • Someone from Apple is getting fired for mistaking an internal April fools joke in Apple, and actually approving opera.
  • I just tried it and it's pretty clear why Apple approved it. Opera Mini is so vastly inferior to the built in safari that all of the non-slashdotites who try it will instantly lose any desire they had for alternative browsers.

    Even the nytimes site that is in the default bookmarks is unreadable, and when you try to two-finger zoom in it moves you to some pre-set zoom level that's too far in.

  • Is IPv6 support still missing?
  • I can't wait for the day when the *full* user experience of Internet Explorer finally comes to the iPhone :p
  • I thought the new Apple agreement says that the program must originally be written against Apple's API and not go through any compatibility layers.
    If Opera runs on 10+ platforms, what are the chances that it doesn't contain any compatibility layers?

  • Rendering Slashdot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zaphod-AVA (471116) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @11:31AM (#31832658)

    I'm

    just

    happy

    to

    have

    a

    browser

    that

    renders

    Slashdot

    comments

    properly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mjwx (966435)
      I use Android, Slashdot has been rendering properly for some time on the default browser. Dolphin browser is even better.

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