Opera’s longtime browser strategy has centered on supporting as many devices as possible. Adding to that, the company is now offering Opera Mini 6 browser for iOS, capable of running on both the iPhone and the iPad.
The iOS-supporting browser complements Opera Mini and Opera Mobile available for Android devices. Opera’s products for both platforms are essentially the same at first glance, with subtle cosmetic differences in the respective user interfaces. Both Android and iOS versions feature tabbed browsing and speed optimization.
Opera Mini 6 for iOS succeeds 2010’s version, which Opera issued as a free app in Apple’s App Store. That was the only way to disseminate the browser to as many iPhones as possible, Opera CEO Lars Boilesen told eWEEK in March 2010, because posting it on Opera’s Website would have only made it available for jailbroken iPhones.
With Opera Mini 6 for iOS, as with the browser versions available for other mobile devices, Opera’s engineers have focused on speeding up the browser experience, with up to 90 percent compression of data traffic between the device and Opera’s servers. Opera claims that the strongest base for its software exists in Central and Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia-places where the majority of devices present in a particular area might be outdated or operating on a painfully slow connection, and thus could benefit from that sort of optimization.
That geographical orientation, executives have insisted in the past, leads to Opera being undercounted by many analysis firms, which tend to take their samples for browser market share from Western Europe and North America.
Opera introduced its Opera Mini 6 browser for Android, BlackBerry, Symbian and J2ME devices March 22, just in time for the CTIA conference in Orlando, Fla. It also debuted the Opera Mobile 11 browser, intended for Android, Symbian, and Windows 8 desktops, as well as lab releases of the MeeGo and Maemo platforms. Features included fully optimized pinch-to-zoom and the ability to post information on social networks via a built-in “share” button-both of which carried over to Opera Mini 6 for iOS.
Despite Opera’s focus on the newest technology, Opera co-founder Jon von Tetzschner told eWEEK in March 2011 that the company would continue to fully support older versions of its browser, the better to run on the more antiquated machines that continue to hold a presence in the company’s key markets.
Part of Opera’s development process, he said at the time, was to give “the best of care onto all devices as soon as possible.”