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back to article Jesus Phone in shock Opera browser benediction

Apple has allowed the Opera Mini browser on the Jesus Phone, according to a shock announcement from Opera. With a press release that hit the web very early Norway time on Tuesday, Opera said that its low-bandwidth mobile browser had been approved for the iPhone and iPod touch and that it would be available in the Apple App Store …

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Confirmed Sighting

Confirmed sighting on the UK app store. Its free and already has 67 reviews.

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Anonymous Coward

Question

"There is no code execution or any scripting language running on the client."

Does it not run javascript then?

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WTF?

Limited options then...

"So, welcome to our Webbrowser Time Machine, where we'll transport you back to the day of Gopher!"

Can someone clarify why we should care about this?

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Answer

Yes. On the server.

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Why should you care?

Because Opera has been proven time and time again to be one of the best mobile browsers going on almost any platform. I can only see Fennec giving it anything like a run for its money, going by the excellent Mozilla implementation on my N900.

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Runs the JS serverside

I just tried a site with JS and it basically repaints the screen every time Javascript does something. It's very quick, but still slightly annoying.

After the slick demonstration Opera made, I think the final product falls short of Safari for three reasons:

1) It tries to reformat columns of text to the iPhone's screen width, which often means you get pages where the text only fills half the width of the area it's in.

2) The Opera "zoomed out" view of a page contains no readable text. In Safari most pages are readable when zoomed out, especially headlines on news websites. Seems like this is a bandwidth saving feature, but it means you have to zoom in and drag around to read any headlines.

3) There is only one zoom level. With Safari you can zoom to whatever level you like, which is great because every site uses different sized fonts and different zoom levels mean you can choose how much of the screen you want to see. With Opera it's either all the screen or a single zoom level. There's no ability to zoom closer to images to see more detail or zoom out a bit to get more vertical text on the screen.

Overall it's great to see some competition on the iPhone, and Opera really does load pages much, much faster than Safari (which is dog slow on my 3G) and it has a nice "find in page" feature, but I think it needs some more polishing before it can really compete.

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Badgers

Interesting

Maybe Apple will buy Opera then?

I wonder if Adobe's browser will be allowed?

(Yes i know they don't have one, it's just a joke from my extremely poor sense of humor)

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Pint

wow!! at last...

I have been running it for the last hour and it is very sweet indeed.

Now all i need is to run some serious flash based stuff through ti and see what happens!

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Go

Blimey, it's fast

Fast? I should say so. Just loaded it. I think (no science involved) it's 4x the speed. Lightening quick. Thank heavens you can turn off 'mobile view' by default (although some sites like www.telegraph.co.uk stuff push you to the mobile version). Scrolling is a bit less smooth than Safari but multipage management is a breeze. Overall, great first attempt.

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FAIL

Re: 'mobile view'

My favourite one of these was trying to update Google Maps the other day, and Google's download link came up with "your mini is not support here" (leaving me wondering briefly WTF a car that I don't have had to do with the price of cheese). Getting round that one's rather fun.

I'm using full-fat Opera *mobile* on WinMo.

I've added "arsehats who think that their b0rken IDing of my browser should forcibly override what I'm trying to do with it" to my list of pet hates at number 4, just after "morons who force page redirection based on IP geolocation, forgetting that one's proxy server may be in another country", "eejits who think that cars use 'breaks' to slow down" and "dickheads who bang on about 'noocooluh' power, proving their level of knowledge in that area."

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Knew it.

A shock to some, maybe, but the only surprise really is that they overlooked its security issues (proxying secure sites?!) Disappointingly, it's pretty janky. Can't argue with the speed — BLINDINGLY fast, even on GPRS connections — but it really doesn't behave like an iPhone app at all, it's just odd. Here's hoping that they'll make it feel better with some updates, cos right now it's kinda frustrating.

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WTF?

Security issues?

It's only a security issue if you don't trust Opera, but their privacy track record is excellent.

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Impressed with the speed, needs an update

Second that, it's very quick to load pages but feels very strange and jarring to use. The scrolling in particular needs to be a little bit smoother.

Also, clicking links on the reg homepage is sending me to random stories not the ones I'm clicking on, big problem. I've had to go back to safari to post this!!

I like that you can mange the quick search engines, I always thought it was a shame you can't do this with safari.

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Yes!

I couldn't agree more. It's blindingly fast and a valiant first attempt.

It's not all sweet, though. Font rendering when minimised is unreadable (check out BBC News) and pinch just toggles you between max zoomed in and max zoomed out with no points inbetween. On Safari you can pinch just a little bit to see what part of the page you really want to zoom in on, whereas on Opera you have to zoom right in then scroll around a giant page.

Oh, and double tapping to zoom to the frame / column is one of THE best things about Safari, and I've already noticed the lack of scripting (The Register's headline carousel for example).

Like I said, though, it's a bloody impressive first attempt and I'll definitely be keeping it installed for when I've got crap signal strength cos it's astonishingly fast. In terms of usability, though, it's no threat to Safari just yet. As The Hawk says, it's literally a first attempt conversion that doesn't yet take advantage of the iPhone's abilities.

Fingers crossed they keep on making it better.

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Links on the reg homepage

Links on the reg homepage seem to have some very odd AJAX bubble-out/bubble-in and onclick-event-interception crap, going on with them. I wouldn't judge any browser by how well it coped with The Register.

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Anonymous Coward

Agree...

Molly Holzschlag (part of the Opera Developer Relations team) said this earlier;

"adoption was the first move. Now we can evolve. Otherwise it would have been bad business, plain and simple."

I think this release was about testing the water. I'd imagine they are hard at work developing the next, more iPhone-like version as we 'speak' (Shame this didn't happen before Jon Hicks left).

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Alert

"no code execution or any scripting language running on the client."

Ye gods, their server's running Javascript and sending the changes to the DOM down to the client through the open connection.

The things you have to do to please Jobs.

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JavaScript

Opera Mini has always done this, it's not something they wrote specifically to please Jobs. It's something they wrote to make their browser work on phones much more limited than the iPhone.

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running javascript on the server

I'm pretty sure that's what Opera Mini does anyway. It ran on my terrible old POS U8120...

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FAIL

USELESS for https

When connecting using SSL (https), the link between your iphone and the opera proxy is UNENCRYPTED!

Hahahaha... another iphone FAIL :)

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Anonymous Coward

Define encrypyed

If I encrypt a ZIP file with a key/password and then send it to you over an unencrypted connection, is it still secure?

I don't know if SSL pages are loaded over non SSL connections, but is the data Opera's servers is sending to the mobiles encrypted?

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Or in other words

The non-story that the Register and a few other tech sites tried to whip up out of this has predictably become just that - a non-story. Way to go on the insight.

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What the "Smart money" says

Sometimes someone needs to make the "Smart Money" a nice hot cup of Shut The Fuck Up, or else the Smart Money may find itself getting email, half a decade hence, telling it how famously "smart" it is.

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Anonymous Coward

Apple bows to Opera

They had to or the gates of EU Hell would have opened and Apple would have been in the same place M$ are in. Now they have to start opening up more as it non-competitive.

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Um, so...

... has anyone checked out any flash sites yet? And?

And flash video - is it just weirdly jerky?

Guess what I'm downloading when I get home...

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whats in it for opera?

I installed this early this morning and have had a bit of a fiddle. It is very fast as others say. The rendering is a bit suspect in places and as of 9.30 its crawling as slow as buggery, presumably due to the load on their servers.

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re: what's in it for opera?

My guess is it's the same as on all other platforms: brand <-> moving (and integrating with) more desktop versions <-> search referral $$$

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What's in it for Opera

An "advertising-based revenue model", apparently.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/04/07/vodafone_opera/

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For casual browsing...

... as if there's anything *other* than casual browsing on a tiny screen...

... it's better than Safari. Faster, easier to use ... just better.

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Just installed it

Was really looking forward to this and have to say I've found it disappointing so far (have only played with it for 10 mins).

Rendering seems iffy, speed doesn't seem better than Safari and interface seems quite clunky.

Fingers crossed this is pretty unfinished because they didn't think it would be approved yet. Hopefully it will get much better.

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iPad

Opera on iPhone is maybe related to Apple releasing iPad?

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Anonymous Coward

Nice first try.

A bit buggy. I was trying to rotate to landscape mode whilst the keyboard was displayed. The screen/keyboard got messed up with a half rotated and unusable keyboard image.

It only seems to have two zoom levels. No pinch-zoom for fine control of the zoom level (I think apple have some weird patent on that though, so that might be why). Means on a page with small link buttons it's hard to click them as you can't zoom in enough to click more easily.

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Holy crap!

I am pleasantly surprised. Apple App Store in common sense shocker!

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Already in the top 5

I've got a couple of the iPhone guys to download it here and it's already in the top 5 downloads from the app store.

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Anonymous Coward

Rendering engine

It does have a rendering engine, it's just that it renders Opera's native bytecode (think of web browsers as compiling HTML and Javascript into a native format that they can then use to draw with) rather than parsing/interpreting HTML, CSS or Javascript directly. The proxy servers do that stage and pass on the resulting bytecode to Opera Mini to 'run' without hindrance.

Not only is this quicker because the data is compressed, but the browser no longer has to worry about parsing errors and error correction and decide how to deal with improperly nested tags and broken CSS syntax, etc. Opera running on the server has already dealt with it and created the final DOM and native styling data, etc.

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Not surprised Apple allowed it...

...it's crap (based on my 10 minute skim test this morning), and thus no competition.

- zoom to page width - missing

- rotate and auto-resize to previous width - missing

- pinch zoom - way too sensitive, and is "stepped", not "smooth".

- scrolling and zoom - way too jerky

- double tap to zoom to page element - sometimes works, or it's merely convenient pre-set zooming

- text resolution vs zoom - inferior to Safari

- speed???? - Can't say I'm seeing any improvement, either in app opening or rendering

- formatting - 3 sites that render ok on Safari & firefox, don't render right here

- no favourites import facility

- no link directly to favourites - must go through "spanner".

Tested on 3GS, latest OS.

Personally, I can't see any compelling reason to steer away from Safari in this early edition. The Opera fanbois will disagree, of course, and will take pains to point out why my testing is rubbish and why I'm such a loser. I'm personally not brand loyal when it comes to browsers, so MS, firefox, Opera, Safari - I don't give a sh*t - if it works, I'll use it.

Lets hope future updates help bring it up to par. Good proof of concept though.

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Great to see, and looking very good

Defiantly alot faster than safari.

The zooming is abit different, but so much quicker, and i think given a few days better

The most promising part is that clearly opera has a andriod, and iphone presence (which no one else 'really' has in this way , and thus I can see them piling on updates aggressively into this.

Oh btw opera is my current favourite PC / Mac browser currently. 10.5 was a massive revolution, esp when you setup your email in it (Wish it had a calendar wignet tho...) Combining Opera sync, means all my bookmarks are up to date on the iphone also

Happy Days

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Happy

Loving it.

Blisteringly fast (5-10x quicker from what I feel). and works really well.

FREE and opens up choice.

I can see this being my default browser on my iPhone... I love the bookmark sync, so much I'm just tinkering with Opera Desktop (10.51) and it also seems rather swish (and equally as fast).

Talk about JesusPhone, I have just seen the light.... Time to say goodbye to Firefox on my PC and Safari on the phone, Opera allround!!!

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@petur

Your connections are always secure as Opera Mini uses an encrypted connection between your handset and Opera's servers, even for unencrypted sites. The only break in end to end encryption is when Opera has to render the page on their servers.

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Unhappy

Unfortunate ass rendering job on my news sites

I had high hopes but the bad html rendering put me off Opera Mini.

Banners of adds at the top of forums I visit get put vertically down the right overlapping content I want to view.

And other sites the font rendering is so bad its multiple fonts and lines overlapping each other.

It seemed fast to zoom in and out but didn't notice any load time speed advances or anything else.

I've left it on the phone but feel like I will be deleting it tomorrow.

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Handy for roaming

I'm looking forward to this - if the data compression is any good, then I'll be less reluctant to open my browser when roaming abroad at £3 or £6 / MB (or just putting my Vodafone SIM in instead).

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Stop

Very impressive speed...but...

It really is blazingly fast. I won't be using it though...

- HMTL layouts don't always come through correctly

- Only two levels of zoom ... IN or OUT

- Panning is very ... "floaty", lifting your finger causes the zoomed view to drift

- Security... you trust your passwords to a proxy server? There's no EULA or Privacy declaration in the app, so you don't know what they're doing with your info. And this doesn't instill much faith:

"Remember Passwords -

Effortlessly remember your passwords, logging in to your favourite sites with a single click."

Not knowing how they store passwords just means I'm not going to try it to find out...

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Coat

Pot Tential

The best thing about this is the potential for this to turn into an epic holy war between Opera and Apple fanbois.

Wonderful, I sense a schism in the church approaching.

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Anonymous Coward

CoS vs CoO

The dilemma for the Apple fanboys is what to do now that Apple have approved it? After all, the whole point is that Apple define all the hardware and regulate the software for the Perfect Computer Experience™. To bash Opera now implies the Apple 'process' has failed because Apple must be equally bad to have allowed it.

I suspect the reception will generally be a a warm one.

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Go

CoS vs CoO vs PoS

@ AC 12:12GMT

Very good point.

Can Opera and Safari co-exist? Isnt the mere existence of an option flouting one of the Commandments of Fanboism?

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Big Brother

Irony

In 1984, Apple presented the Apple Macintosh as an escape from control and conformity; indeed they even did a legendary Superbowl advert (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1984_%28advertisement%29) about it.

How ironic, that Apple now seems to resemble the pigs at the end of another George Orwell book - Animal Farm

"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

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Paris Hilton

but what about IE

I've written to the EU to request, nay demand, that IE be added to the iPhone and that a "browser choice" screen be presented every time that the user wants to go onto the internet.

It is unfair of Opera to continue to use it's monopoly position as the only European browser company to gain an advantage that is denied other developers

Paris: coz she's cute when she's confused as well

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FAIL

iBrain.

IE isn't European.

Opera don't have a monopoly on the iPhone.

iCab is a European browser.

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Silver badge

Why is this a shock announcement?

Opera did something (HTML server side?) that was reported here a few months back. Dim hazy memory. At any rate, it was an almost definite coup for Opera because for AppStore to reject it would have been a whole lot of bad PR.

Frankly, I don't give a crap what browser runs on the J-phone, but it is nice for users to have a choice now.

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Jobs Halo

Colour me stunned

While I've nothing new to add to this discussion I feel it's only fair, having strongly voiced the opinion that Opera Mini didn't stand a snowball in hell's chance of getting into the App Store, to offer my apologies and congratulations to Opera for pulling off this coup.

It's a pity the whole Microsoft / IE / Browser Ballot debacle hasn't played out as smoothly but I guess you can't win 'em all.

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