By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 3:07 am
Norwegian browser company Opera Software wants to be the second company to release a browser for the iPhone–after Apple, of course. And so it’s announcing today that it’s submitted Opera Mini to Apple for App Store approval. Opera says that it considered charging for the app, but has decided to give it away.
The company touts its server-side compression technology as making Opera Mini up to six times faster than Apple’s Mobile Safari. When I tried Mini on the iPhone last week at the South by Southwest conference, I didn’t see that speed boost–but an Opera representative recently told me that Mini was misconfigured at SxSW. And I was impressed with the browser in other ways.
Will Apple approve Mini? Assuming that it follows the iPhone developer agreement and doesn’t involve security risks, I think it would be a horrible mistake if it didn’t. Safari is going to be the iPhone’s dominant browser no matter what, and spiking Mini would resurrect Google Voice-like concerns that Apple is unwilling to permit competitors to build iPhone apps that rational people might prefer to Apple’s own wares.
It’ll be good for iPhone owners, Opera, Apple, and the American way if Apple approves Mini without delay. And I’m in an optimistic mood. So I’m hereby predicting that it’ll show up on the App Store within the next couple of weeks.