First Impressions of Opera Mini For iPhone: It’s Fast

Opera Mini to come on the iPhone soon

Popular web browser developer Opera had announced last week that it would give a "sneak peak" of Opera Mini for iPhone at the Mobile World Congress 2010.

And they've kept their promise. Charlie Sorrel of Wired tried out Opera Mini for iPhone at the Mobile World Congress, which started today.

Sorrel had some very good things to say about the native version of Opera Mini for iPhone:

  • It’s a lot faster than iPhone’s Safari browser.

  • The browser is based on Webkit so technically the iPhone app should be approved.

  • Opera Mini does all the rendering on the server side. John Gruber of Daring Fireball had described how it works quite sometime back:

“You request a URL in Opera Mini. Opera Mini makes the request to a proxy server run by Opera. Opera’s proxy server connects to the web server hosting the requested URL, and renders the page into an image. This image is then transmitted (in a proprietary format called OBML — Opera Binary Markup Language) to the Opera Mini client. Opera Mini displays the rendered image on screen. This may sound convoluted, but apparently the result is very effective — it’s faster to transmit, because only OBML (a compressed binary format) is transmitted to the mobile device over the phone network, and far faster to render on slow mobile processors."

  • Due to the server side processing, the rendered webpages are 90% smaller.

  • The compressed binary format files are also cached by the application, which according to Sorrel gives instant back to forward navigation.

  • You can’t pinch-to-zoom webpages instead you need to double-tap to zoom in on webpages.

  • It doesn’t support Adobe Flash, which is expected as it uses the same Webkit as iPhone’s Safari browser.

  • The version of the iPhone app that Sorrel was testing was very mature but unfinished version.

Opera hasn’t submitted Opera Mini for iPhone to the App Store for approval yet, however Opera told Wired "we are confident that Opera Mini will meet the requirements". But they acknowledge that Apple might never allow it onto the iPhone App Store.

Do you want Opera Mini for iPhone? Do you think Apple will approve it? Let us know in the comments.

[via Wired]