Opera Cruises Past iPhone To Take Mobile Browser Lead - InformationWeek

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6/3/2009
09:10 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Opera Cruises Past iPhone To Take Mobile Browser Lead

In the month of May, Opera surpassed the iPhone to become the most-used mobile browser worldwide. How long can Opera hold onto the top spot before the iPhone recaptures the lead? Probably not all that long.

In the month of May, Opera surpassed the iPhone to become the most-used mobile browser worldwide. How long can Opera hold onto the top spot before the iPhone recaptures the lead? Probably not all that long.Analytics firm StatCounter recently revealed that the world's number one browser for the month of May was not the iPhone's Safari browser, but Opera's browser instead. StatCounter's number say that 24.6% of all mobile Web page downloads went to Opera, and 22.3% went to iPhone. In case you were wondering, Nokia's browser landed the number 3 spot, with 17.9%

What StatCounter didn't make clear, though, is which version of Opera became number one. Opera has two mobile browsers: Opera Mini and Opera Mobile. Which one surpassed the iPhone? Or did both combined pass the iPhone? In my book, that would be a different story.

Whichever version it is, one thing is clear: People are looking for a better mobile Web experience. Though it doesn't support Flash (yet), the iPhone's browser has captured a huge percentage of worldwide mobile browsing traffic. Both Opera Mini and Opera Mobile provide for a rich (or richer) browsing experience on both feature phones and smart phones. It is available for consumers to download directly to their handsets if they are interested.

What's important to point out is that the iPhone only recently took the top spot from Opera earlier this year. Aodhan Cullen, chief executive of StatCounter, said in a statement, "Opera began the year in the number one slot but iPhone overtook it in February. It will be fascinating to watch how this battle plays out over the year."

Indeed it will. It would be interesting to see how other browsers fare, too. The mobile version of Internet Explorer 6 is set to debut on WinMo 6.5 handsets later this year. The Android platform offers a fairly rich mobile browser. And upstarts such as SkyFire continue to enter the fray with their own capable browsers.

Will the iPhone and Opera continue to hold onto the top spots, or can they be dethroned. The battle for king of the hill rages on.

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