Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Opera Mini for iPhone...

I downloaded Opera Mini from the Apple Apps store on Monday Night pretty much minutes after it was made available (I just so happened to be on); my impressions so far:

It is fast.  No doubt pre-rendering pages before they are sent to the browsers defiantly speed up page loading.  Basically what it does is when you go to a page it is pre-rendered on an Opera Server, and then the fully rendered and compressed page view is sent to your browser.  It is a fairly ingenuous way to deal with inherent lag and power constraints found on a mobile device.  I'm surprised that Apple didn't come up with this idea in the first place.

It's still buggy.  It's true, that if anything this is an Open Beta.  I've already found quite a few bugs.  It's crashed on my at least five times.  Also if you have it in Text Input mode, and swing the device from Portrait, To Landscape, and back to portrait quickly an image of the landscape keyboard will get stuck on the screen.

Some questionable UI decisions.  This is purely in the realm of personal preference, but for me the biggest problem is putting the Bookmarks menu within the setting menu.  This means that you are always at least two clicks away from your Bookmarks.  I assume this isn't an issue in Opera's mind because they have implemented a better form of Tabbed browsing using a home-screen with links to favorite sites a la Chrome and Big Opera.  I admit, I'm old-school a little bit when it comes to browsing, and though I use tabs; I'm primarily a Site to Site guy.  Also the the first thing you should do is turn on "Full Screen" mode.  The sandard address bar and menu bar take up 1/3 of the screen if they're on permanently.  This of course hides the menu which means your now Three Clicks from your Bookmarks.

Overall I'd say my experience is good.  It's not really ready to replace Mobile Safari yet, but I'm guessing that it's issues will be ironed out soon.  In some ways of course it will never fully replace Mobile Safari because Mobile Safari is so integrated in the overall OS that it would be impossible to replace it with it a Third party browser... Wasn't Microsoft sued for doing less?  It's also apparent that people were chomping at the bit for an alternative to Mobile Safari.  After just 36 hours or so it's already #1 in all the free app categories in the Apps Store.

Source:  Engadget