Mobile Safari on the iPhone is great. You can pinch-out/double click to zoom in, pinch-in/double click to zoom out, you can open up to 8 tabs and it also works as a local Word/Excel document and PDF reader. It doesn’t hurt that it’s one of the fastest mobile browsers available out there, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to try an alternative mobile browsing experience on my iPhone. You know? There should be another browser, at least one, that can be used on the iPhone other than Mobile Safari.
Opera Mini is one of the most popular mobile browsers on handhelds, and it’s available for smartphones all over the world, regardless of whether they run on Symbian, Windows Mobile, or even low-end operating systems only capable of running Java-based apps. It’s fast, intuitive, and is very easy to install. It easily becomes one of the top contenders for an alternative browser on the iPhone.
Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t agree with the many people who say Opera Mini should be on the iPhone. In fact, even though there’s already a full-working Opera Mini app for the iPhone, as per Opera CEO Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner’s NYTimes interview, Apple won’t let it into the app store:
Mr. von Tetzchner said that Opera’s engineers have developed a version of Opera Mini that can run on an Apple iPhone, but Apple won’t let the company release it because it competes with Apple’s own Safari browser.
One could argue that Apple is just protecting its right to successfully milk the cash cow they have built on the iPhone platform, but taking a user’s options away before asking them is like playing God (which strangely, is very Apple-like, anyway.) There’s no promise that Apple will ever change its mind regarding Opera Mini on the iPhone, but really, the decision is entirely up to them. I used to look forward to using Mobile Firefox on the iPhone, but it looks like it will be a very long time coming if Apple doesn’t change its ways.
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