To my shock and amazement, Apple actually approved the Opera Mini web browser for the iPhone. It was such an event, I had to download it and give it a try. Let me begin by saying that I have never been a fan of Opera on any operating system. I’ve practically never heard of anyone who actually uses it. Opera’s market share is near zero. How they manage to continue development is somewhat baffling.
Opera Mini is touting faster speeds and more features over the built-in Safari browser for the iPhone. That said, I don’t see any speed improvement in my experience. As for the extra features (such as tabbed browsing), they all serve to make the Opera interface look too cluttered. There are simply too many buttons, options, bells and whistles. It looks as if they tried to cram all of the features of a desktop application into an iPhone app. For me, that strategy just doesn’t work for a mobile device. The screen real estate for the actual web page is cut in half by all of Opera’s interface clutter.
I applaud Apple for relaxing their tight grip on third-party web browsers. If you’re interested in Opera Mini, then by all means, give it a try. As for me, I’m going to stick with the ease and simplicity of Safari. Any speed increase for Opera is negated by the fact that I hardly ever use a web browser on my iPhone to begin with. On the whole, I honestly don’t see use in Opera taking off for any platform. I doubt Apple does either, which is probably why they accepted the app in the first place.