Does Opera Mini 4 rip off iPhone?

Even though I am primarily involved in Opera Desktop, I am very happy to see the success the Opera Mini team is having with their new baby. It's certainly raising a few eyebrows out there, and overall, people seem to love it.

This launch has not been without controversies, though. Our little Apple spoof ad has ruffled a few feathers out there.

One thing they are getting caught up in is that the spoof ad is comparing software (Opera Mini) to hardware (iPhone), but I don't think they are getting the point. Opera Mini is available right now, and can be used on almost any phone. You don't need a $600 device to browse the full Web on your mobile phone.

I'll quote Mobility Now:

This is a revolutionary product. It’s bigger than the iPhone. Why? Because over one billion people currently use a cellphone, and are restricted to browse only WAP pages because they don’t have a smartphone. Yet the vast majority support Java, and by downloading this simple 200k program, they can now browse the full Internet with a desktop like experience, right now, for free.

Another issue I've seen brought up a few times is that the overview mode and zooming in Opera Mini 4 is a ripoff of the iPhone browser. To be fair, I won't get into how Apple claimed to do full mobile browsing first. Let's instead look at the assumption that Apple invented zooming and panning in Web browsers…

While a lot of people may not be aware that Nokia has been doing this for quite some time with their new mobile browser, it is slightly more surprising that they are unaware that the Wii browser (Opera!) also gives you an overview mode where you can choose to zoom in on specific parts of the page. The DS browser also does similar things, and even Microsoft's experimental, er, "Web site image viewer" Deepfish starts zoomed out, and allows you to zoom in to view interesting content in more detail.

I am sure that iPhone will be a wonderful device, but it will also be "wonderfully" expensive, and out of reach to a lot of people. And while Apple is bragging about zooming and panning in their mobile browser, the rest of us can simply use one of the many browsers on various devices that do this already. And if you have a Java enabled phone, you would most likely be able to install Opera Mini, which means that you won't have to buy a new phone to get the full Web in your pocket, right now.

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6 thoughts on “Does Opera Mini 4 rip off iPhone?

  1. The one thing where I think the iPhone browser has an advantage over Opera Mini is that you can turn it by 90° and the phone turns the page to widescreen. I guess something simliar could be implemented into opera mini (of course, you'd need to press a button to rotate the page). Other than that, the iPhone is just neat, especially with this big screen and the touch-thingy and that. Browser-wise, there is not so much difference.

  2. "One thing they are getting caught up in is that the spoof ad is comparing software (Opera Mini) to hardware (iPhone)"Apple do this themselves, to a degree. They compare the Mac with a "PC", but what they're really comparing it with is Windows.

  3. WildEnte: Actually, when I run Opera Mini on my Windows Pocket PC phone, its orientation switches as well when I open the keyboard (and then I turn my phone so I can use the keyboard). I guess that's a functionality of the device and Windows Mobile 5.Of course, Opera Mobile on that phone does the same thing.

  4. "One thing they are getting caught up in is that the spoof ad is comparing software (Opera Mini) to hardware (iPhone), but I don't think they are getting the point…" For me, that *is* the point. If I had a cellular mobile, I would get Opera Mini with no cost and be browsing the web today. My iPhone fanatic friends would still be waiting to spend the better part of a thousand dollars for mobile Internet access.Apple may in fact release a very fine product that is intimately associated with a very fine browser, perhaps one even superior to Opera Mini. I'll never know, since I'm neither rich nor opulent. For some reason, Apple users are willing to pay for browsers (iCab, Omniweb, the AppleScript extensions to Safari, even), but I want a free Internet now. I suppose that's where we part ways…

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