For the first time, the Opera Mini has infiltrated desktop browser rankings in a European country, indicating that the use of mobile browsing software may be gaining momentum overseas, according to Opera Software ASA and market-share data.
Tor Odland, a spokesman for Opera Software, said use of the Opera Mini mobile browser has surpassed the Apple Safari desktop browser in the Ukraine, according to Internet-use data from Ranking.com.
The data shows that in the last three weeks, the Opera Mini browser's three versions on the market edged out the Apple Safari Web browser for market share. Opera Mini had 0.3 percent market share, while Safari had 0.2 percent. Both lagged far behind Microsoft Internet Explorer, Opera's desktop browser and Mozilla Firefox use among Ukrainian users, however.
Odland acknowledged that market share for the Opera Mini is still quite slim compared to its desktop counterparts, and popularity in the Ukraine, which has a population of about 42 million, does not mean widespread adoption in other countries. However, he said he is hopeful that Europeans will increasingly use mobile browsers such as the Opera Mini to surf the Web.
"We obviously can't talk about a worldwide trend yet, but this is hopefully the small beginning for the real mobile Internet," he said.
Opera Mini has become a popular browser to search the Web on mobile devices, particularly in Europe. According to the company, the browser is most popular in Russia, the Ukraine, the U.S., South Africa and China, and has about 13 million users worldwide.
Opera Software's free desktop browser also is used more widely in Europe than in the U.S. The latest statistics from W3 Schools for Web browser usage in the U.S. shows the Opera desktop browser in sixth place in March 2007 behind several versions of IE, Firefox and Safari. W3 Schools is a resource for Web-development education and developer tools.