Engadget is reporting that Opera Mini is the number one free download in pretty much all of the iTunes App Stores World-wide. Apparently over 1 million copies have been downloaded in day 1. That last figure is from a Press Release from Opera Software themselves.
Whilst this is impressive, Opera Mini is not without its problems. Because the pages are in effect blocks of pre-rendered images, double tapping to zoom on specific parts does not work as well as in Mobile Safari. And scrolling is not as smooth either. Although that latter problem may be related to Apple’s patent on the scrolling in Mobile Safari scaring the Opera developers off of aping it.
Overall the browser is only really noticeably faster on GPRS / EDGE devices, which as we know are at the older, and fast becoming obsolete, end of the Apple iPhone range. But on those slower networks it is about twice the speed. On Wi-Fi, and 3G Mobile Safari holds its own against Opera Mini, more or less. The difference in individual page loading is only an order of a second or so. But that might make all the difference to you.
I’ve also spoken to a few people in different countries who say that the rendering of different languages leaves a lot to be desired. Opera might want to look into Thai fonts for example, as it’s really not very good. [gnarlykitty] [twitpic.com]
Even in English, the choice of fonts seems to be limited, and rendering is slightly off at times.
But it is free, and does offer an alternative to Mobile Safari. I just wonder how long it will stay popular, and how much of the rush of downloads is novelty factor.
Have you tried Opera Mini yet on the iPhone? How was it for you? Can you see it becoming your day to day web browser for the iPhone, or iPad Touch. Let us know in the comments.