Opera claims to have reached the 35 million user mark for its mobile browser, and according to one stat is the world’s most popular handset browser.
In recent month Opera has increased its lead over iPhone’s Safari browser and now holds 26.9% of the market, says web analytics firm StatCounter. In terms of market share the iPhone follows with 21.2%, then Nokia with 20.8%.
Last month Admob claimed that the iPhone was the clear leader, with Google’s Android and Palm’s webOS picking up steam. The iPhone accounted for 40% of wireless web usage in August, Admob said.
But according to independent apps marketplace GetJar, the Opera Mini browser has been downloaded more than 25 million times from its store.
“The fact that Opera Mini is the most downloaded app on an open app store like GetJar makes us proud,” said Opera's chief strategy officer Rolf Assev.
Opera's traction is largely due to the fact that it can be downloaded across a variety of mobile environments across Java, Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile platforms.
In parts of the world like Western Europe where mobile internet penetration is only 13%, handsets and closed operating systems such as iPhone may have limited appeal.
Forrester researcher Thomas Hussan suggests that for the European market, iPhones are not necessarily a panacea.
“New device makers have bold ambitions and want to enter a volume war. To do so, they are likely to rely on the cheapest OS that is also following a volume play to monetize its mobile audiences... Android/Google.”
When it comes to mobile web browsing, Opera’s figures show a 8.7% rise in September over August, and an increase of more than three times than a year ago. The company is boasting a monthly growth rate of 11.5%, with 2 petabytes of data traffic recorded per month.
Opera mini’s top 10 markets include Russia, Indonesia, India, China, Ukraine, South Africa, US, UK, Poland and Vietnam (a new entry to the top 10).
The surge in mobile data usage is also attracting new players to the browser market, with Mozilla launching its Firefox browser next month on the Nokia N900, the first Nokia phone using Linux software.
Mozilla also plans to release the mobile version of Firefox, Fennec, for Nokia's Maemo, Windows Mobile and Android devices.