Opera Mini browser submitted to iPhone App Store [UPDATE: Video added]

Opera has just submitted the iPhone version of its mobile browser, Opera Mini, to the iTunes App Store.  Opera Mini uses techniques like server-side rendering (loading pages on Opera servers and relaying only the end result to the phone) to dramatically speed up mobile browsing– on an iPhone 3GS, Opera Mini loads pages up to 5 times faster faster than Apple’s Safari browser.  Yet Apple is virtually guaranteed to reject the app, since it “duplicates functionality” already in the phone (a reason Apple uses to anything that might compete with its own apps on the iPhone).

So the question is why has Opera gone to such lengths to develop a version of Opera Mini for the iPhone and submitted it to the App Store if it’s just going to get rejected anyway?  First, Opera genuinely wants to have its browser available on the iPhone.  The company’s been building buzz around its new iPhone browser through closed-door demos, likely to build up public support which could be mobilized to put pressure on Apple if it rejects the application.  Second, Opera was one of the driving forces behind the 2007 European antitrust investigation into Internet Explorer on Windows, and there’s a possibility the company is looking to launch something similar in the iPhone space.

In 2007, Opera claimed it wanted to give “consumers a genuine choice of Web browsers,” a line the company’s CEO, Jon von Tetzchner, recently repeated: “Opera Mini is the world’s most popular mobile browser and users on the iPhone deserve a choice.”  Opera also just put up a page tracking how long it’s been since it submitted the app.  Certainly a nice publicity stunt– now let’s see where the company goes with this.

Update: Video added after the break.

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