Opera just announced that it plans to bring its mobile browser, Opera Mini, to the iPhone. The Norwegian company will give the press and its partners a sneak peek of the application during next week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Opera Mini on the iPhone will include all of Opera's default features like Speed Dial, tabs and a password manager. Opera Mini for the iPhone will also feature Opera's compression technology, which compresses text and images on Opera's servers before they get sent to the phone. The question, however, is whether Apple will allow the application into the App Store.
For now, this announcement is a great PR move by Opera. It certainly looks like Opera wants to put some pressure on Apple to allow the app - and maybe other browsers too - into the store.
Opera Mini is already available on a large number of platforms, including Symbian and Android. The iPhone, however, has remained off-limits for any browser besides Apple's own Safari. There are a few apps that use Safari's rendering engine to create new browser experiences, but we haven't seen any browsers that use alternative rendering engines on the iPhone yet.
While Mozilla is moving forward with its mobile projects for Windows Mobile, Android and Maemo, there are no current plans to port Firefox to the iPhone yet.
This will be an interesting test case. Opera, of course, can show any demo it wants to - but until the company submits the app to Apple, we won't know how Apple will react. Or perhaps this is just a publicity stunt by Opera.