Opera Browser Is iPhone’s #1 Free App With A Million Downloads

After the surprise of Opera mini being approved for iPhone, the Norwegian web browser could scarcely have proved more popular on Apple’s handset.

The app was downloaded more than a million times on its first day alone, Opera says, shooting it to #1 on each of Apple’s free app charts around the world. It’s still there everywhere bar Australia, where it slipped back to #2.

By our calculations, that means Opera has already been installed on 1.36 percent of the 75 million iPhone OS devices sold to date.

Opera’s approval by Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) wasn’t the shock some people might have thought – other Safari alternatives, like Mercury and Oceanus, were already in the app store.

But Opera was already the leading mobile web browser. Its iPhone success will see it extend its lead over Safari, from which Opera has been taking share and which slumped to a record recent low in February as Opera gained momentum, according to StatCounter.

Opera slims down web pages for mobile using its own server computers, so could be a boon for networks, which have struggled to cope with rising data demands presented by smartphones like iPhone. But – barring an antitrust ruling of the kind that has given Opera leverage on Windows desktops in Europe – there’s next to no chance of Apple switching from Safari as its default browser.

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Mobile Browser Market Share