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Opera Mini For iPhone Reviewed 240

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the at-least-the-price-is-right dept.
Stoobalou writes "Everyone was mightily surprised when Apple allowed Opera entry to the iTunes App store, but there's one very good reason for the change of heart. Opera Mini for iPhone is not very good." I tried it for a little while, and the one thing that I really liked is how insanely fast switching tabs was.
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Opera Mini For iPhone Reviewed

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  • Re:Not very good? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tim C (15259) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @09:03AM (#31843908)

    Apple's stated justification for not allowing Flash is that it'll drain the battery and so give a poor user experience.

    Common belief is that it is really because it will allow third parties to develop apps in Flash and deploy them on the web (potentially even downloading them to the iPhone), thus bypassing the App Store and Apple's cut of the money.

    *Stoobalou's* stated justification for Apple allowing Opera Mini on the iPhone is that it's not very good; Apple has said no such thing.

  • by ktappe (747125) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @09:13AM (#31843968)
    I couldn't use Opera for iPhone for more than a few minutes before abandoning it. Pinching in and out, possibly due to Apple restrictions to be fair, doesn't work well at all--it's not smooth, instead jumping between too far in or too far out. But the worst part is trying to change the pages shown on the home screen, To change or add one you have to hold your finger down on one of the 9 buttons. Then a menu pops up....UNDER YOUR FINGER WHERE YOU CAN'T SEE IT. But if you lift the phone up so you can peek under your finger to try sliding onto the pop up menu, IT DISAPPEARS as you move to it. It's literally impossible to change the home screen. I persistently tried, but had to give up after nearly 2 dozen attempts. It's truly an infernal piece of software. I had high hopes.....
  • by pak9rabid (1011935) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @09:17AM (#31844000)
    Since Opera's proxy servers do the actual rendering of the page, anything that's accessed via https has to be decrypted by Opera's servers, then re-encrypted and sent back to the user (ala man-in-the-middle).
  • by davidbrit2 (775091) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @09:27AM (#31844076) Homepage

    The initial release looks like a pretty straight port of the native Windows Mobile version, warts and all. To understand some of the weaknesses, you need to understand that Opera Mini was originally just a Java (J2ME) application, and smooth, arbitrary zooming is not something that would have worked well. Thus the Opera Mini proxy sends both a zoomed-in and a zoomed-out version of the page that the browser can jump between to allow the user to zoom in and out, even if it's only two zoom levels. With the greater CPU and graphical power offered by porting the application to Windows Mobile and the iPhone OS, I don't doubt that we'll eventually see an update that simply uses the zoomed-in version of the page and scales it accordingly to implement zooming, but these two ports are relatively new, and the developers obviously haven't yet had a chance to spruce up the rendering beyond what the Java version does already.

    In summary, I'd recommend putting it on your iPhone/iPod Touch so that you'll be informed when an update becomes available. I'd wager it will be improved significantly.

  • Re:Not very good? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @09:50AM (#31844292)

    Apple's revenue numbers show the App store makes what 1-2% of Apple's revenue

    My back-of-the-envelope calculations ended in similar figures but saying this is somehow readable in Apples revenue figures is news to me. As far as I know they do not differentiate with App store and the rest of itunes.

  • Re:Not very good? (Score:3, Informative)

    by DJRumpy (1345787) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:13AM (#31844532)

    You do realize that bookmarks are synced in iTunes if you choose that option? Works on both Windows, and Mac.

  • Re:Not very good? (Score:2, Informative)

    by quadelirus (694946) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:15AM (#31844566)
    Did you actually use the Opera Mini for iPhone before you posted that? It really is pretty terrible.

    First, it has only two zooms, out and in. When you are zoomed out the text is unreadable since it is basically just an image trying to look like text. Contrast that with Mobile Safari where I, at least, can read a webpage even if it is zoomed out (because it is actually rendering the text rather than rendering it to an image, compressing the image and then transmitting it across the internet.) The zoom in is also a problem because it is often too far in. The bottom line is that Opera Mini is an inferior experience.

    I'm not saying anything about normal Opera. I don't personally like it, but I see how some people could. Opera Mini on iPhone, however, is not good.

    Oh, and also it apparently strips out the https security from the secure websites you use--or at least acts as a middle man, which means you are trusting Opera servers with your bank account info if you use it for such things.
  • by AaxelB (1034884) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:17AM (#31844576)

    And how do you know that? On what grounds you're putting this trust in most of the closed software you use? (heck, also open one...did you make sure all your binaries are fine? Do you trust all eyes looking at the code? The compiler?)

    Exactly. I considered linking to this [bell-labs.com] in my post above, but it seemed a little too philosophical for the topic. Still a great read, and excellent point.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:47AM (#31844912)
    And that's why Opera notifies you about this when you do try to open a https page for the first time... It is not a hidden feature. (damn, never moderate before reading the whole thread...)
  • Re:Hogwash (Score:2, Informative)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {hmryobemag}> on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @11:08AM (#31845192) Journal

    Are you suggesting that the current Flash-less browser is "fully functional?" Sad as it may be, Flash is an integral part of the web right now, and going without Flash totally breaks the functionality of many sites (such as youtube, which has had to introduce workarounds such as client apps to let the iSheep use their site). Sure you can still browse but it's far from "fully functional."

  • Re:My impressions (Score:3, Informative)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @12:12PM (#31846076) Journal

    The settings allow you to select HTTP or Socket as the protocol. Since HTTP is layered on top of a TCP socket, that makes no sense. I'm guessing it's poor English for "go directly to the site you requested" (HTTP) and "go through our compression server" (Socket). But I wouldn't know how to confirm this guess.

    Your guess is wrong. It always goes through Opera servers, because they are much more than just compression servers for the Mini - they handle all actual HTML rendering, interpret JS scripts on pages, and so on. It couldn't work without them.

    What this option does is specify how the connection to Opera servers is established. "HTTP" is just what it says - for every navigation you make, it does an HTTP request to Opera servers, and receives OBML for rendering. This has the advantage of working through even the most restrictive proxies (only port 80 opened), and some other platforms on which Mini runs (some J2ME phones, mostly) simply do not have any other connectivity options for applications. However, you get the overhead of HTTP request and response headers.

    "Socket" uses Opera own proprietary protocol, which, as I understand, is generally optimized for compactness and efficiency (i.e. tight binary packing, minimal overhead). I also suspect that it tries to maintain connection alive for longer in that mode.

    Overall, it's usable, but I agree that it's not very good (yet). Still hopeful that it will get better and cattleprod Mobile Safari improvements when it gets genuinely competitive.

    I doubt that a browser that does all rendering and DOM manipulation server-side could possibly ever compete with Safari. Then again, it's not even intended to.

    Now if we can get Opera Mobile (the real deal), that would be another matter - that thing has a full-fledged rendering engine, with the same codebase as desktop version, which is the single most conformant engine out there to date with respect to HTML5 & CSS3.

  • Re:Not very good? (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @01:09PM (#31846816) Journal

    HTML5 video does not allow for DRM

    Yes it does. HTML5 does not specify anything about the format of the video - it can be in any container format and CODEC that the client supports. Safari delegates playback to QuickTime, so you can use HTML5 to deliver DRM'd video in any format that QuickTime supports.

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