The Fat Lady Sings - Opera Mini for iPhone Approved! But, Should You Care?

Posted by Jeff Scott on April 13th, 2010
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Opera Mini is a web browser for the iPhone. A web browser? Why would you want that, you already have Safari, right? Good question...

Opera Mini seems to be an application that was built just because they could do it. It's really only useful for a small number of people -- those that only have access to really bad Edge data. And it needs to be really bad to make Opera Mini useful. The goal of Opera Mini is to speed up the rendering of web pages by doing all of the hard work on the server and then sending down low bandwidth images to the client on your iPhone. And, in theory it works, but in practice, not so much.

In my tests over the last few hours I had a hard time finding a web site that rendered correctly. Most were missing large chunks or just didn't function at all. One of the main features is that all javascript, the code that lets web pages do interactive things, is executed on the server. But the result is that this pretty much breaks any web page that has any javascript.

The plus is that Opera Mini is free to download, and does have some interesting features. The 3x3 grid of quick launch web sites called Speed Dial is great. The zooming and scrolling is wickedly fast. But overall, if a page doesn't render properly, how useful is it?

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