Chancing your arm
The mobile browser market seems to be hotting up in a way reminiscent of the PC browser wars, and the reasons are similar - a desire to control the interface between the public and the web - although it's not obvious how that control can be turned into money.
Mozilla recently released Firefox for mobile, but it's only available on Nokia's Maemo operating system, with version for Windows Mobile and Android in the pipeline. It has no plans for an iPhone version, which came as no surprise because Apple notoriously likes to control the software that can be used on its platforms and it has the Safari browser.
So the news that Norwegian browser company Opera will be previewing a beta version of its Opera Mini 5 browser for the iPhone for us journos at MWC came as a bit of a surprise.
"We are thrilled to offer journalists and partners an exclusive preview of Opera Mini for iPhone during the year's biggest mobile event," said Jon von Tetzchner, co-founder of Opera Software. "This is a unique opportunity to introduce the fast, feature-rich Opera Mini experience for the iPhone, and to showcase our latest beta releases of Opera Mobile and Opera Mini on other platforms and devices."
Now, anyone is free to make software to run on Apple products, but that doesn't mean Apple will OK it. The other thing that remains unclear is why this isn't Opera Mobile, which is designed specifically for smartphones. Opera Mini is compatible with lower specced phones, but maybe the answers to these two questions are linked.
Opera will also be showing Opera Mobile 10 betas running on Symbian S60, Windows Mobile and Android handsets as well as Opera Mini 5 beta.