May 4 2010

Internet Explorer Usage Drops

This news makes me extremely happy because I absolutely cannot stand Internet Explorer. I hope that people are realizing that there are so many great alternative browsers out there to use. According to statistics published by Net Applications, Internet Explorer use is down to about 60 percent, which is quite a change from the 80 percent it had two and a half years ago. Firefox has nearly 25 percent of the usage, Chrome has 6.7 percent, and Opera 2.3 percent.

Alternative browsers use different rendering engines from Internet Explorer’s Trident and offer a vastly improved performance. Trident does not meet the latest web standards and has very slow rendering speeds compared to Gecko, Presto, and WebKit, the rendering engines of Firefox, Opera, and Chrome/Safari, respectively.

I would highly recommend switching from Internet Explorer if you are still using it. Firefox is a great alternative (it has lots of pretty themes that you can use to customize it), as is Safari (it’s really, really fast). I have heard great things about Chrome, though I have not used it myself. And if you’re a Mac user, Camino is a great choice as well—it’s based on Gecko and integrates really well with the Mac OS. I have tried Opera in the past and I found it a bit difficult to adjust to, but it is also a good alternative to Internet Explorer.

Via AppleInsider.

Apr 16 2010

Opera iPhone App is Hugely Popular

The Opera iPhone app, released two days ago, has already proven to be a huge success. It was at the top of the download chart within twenty-four hours of being released and has been downloaded over one million times since its release. Apple took three weeks to approve it for sale in the app store.

Opera Mini is not the first iPhone app that is an alternative to the Safari browser. A browser app called iCab was released in May 2009. However, Opera Mini is one of the first well-known browsers to be developed for the iPhone.

Apps have to be written for particular phones to offer a good quality experience. Opera has not developed an app for the iPad, instead saying that the iPhone version of Opera Mini will work on the iPad.

Via BBC News, image via Opera.

Apr 12 2010

Apple Approves Opera for iPhone

Apple has approved Opera Mini for the iPhone, which is big news because it is the first alternative web browser for the iPhone. Opera Mini will help users where the AT&T network is most congested, like San Francisco and New York.

Ironically enough, for Opera Mini to be approved, it had to be deemed not a web browser because of Apple’s developer agreement. The agreement does not allow alternative JavaScript rendering engines on the iPhone. Though the iPhone has had alternative browsers previously, all of them were actually skins for the Safari browser.

Technically, Opera Mini does not render web pages. Opera’s servers render the pages and Opera Mini renders a compressed markup language called OBML. This actually makes Opera Mini more like a PDF reader than a web browser.

People who have used Opera Mini have said that it is extremely fast, rendering web pages in ten seconds, as opposed to the thirty that Safari took. Opera Mini also reduces data traffic, which should give speed improvements to crowded areas.

Via PC Magazine, image via Opera.

Mar 20 2010

Opera Making Major Grounds in the EU Due To Browser Selection Screen

We all remember or at least know of the famous Microsoft anti-trust trials of the late 90s and early 2000s, and of course its result was the creation of the mandatory browser selection screen in the European Union.  At first, there were questions on whether or not it would be truly a useful addition in spreading knowledge about alternatives to Internet Explorer. Common opinion held that people who hadn’t gone through the effort of finding a different browser on their own would simply pick IE and not worry about it.

Opera, however, seems to be reporting results to the contrary.  According to them, a “dramatic uptake on downloads” has occurred, and they have the numbers to back it.  They have experienced a 328% download increase from Poland due to the choice screen, meaning that 77% of the downloads of that country are due to the choice screen.  Across the EU, 53% of their downloads come from the choice screen.  It’s a shame that the US doesn’t have a similar policy.

Via Gizmodo

Feb 19 2010

Microsoft to Offer Browser Choice

Starting on March 1, Europeans using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer will have a choice of which browser to use. They will be able to choose to use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple’s Safari, Opera, or continue to use Internet Explorer. Microsoft’s offering this choice is a result of an agreement between Microsoft and the EU. The EU and Microsoft have long had conflicts over anti-trust issues.

The browser choice will arrive via an update for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 users, according to a Microsoft blog post. It is estimated that over half of people who use the Internet use Internet Explorer as their browser. According to analysts, many people never think about which browser they use and now will be forced to make a choice.

The chair of the Mozilla Foundation expressed pleasure at hearing this news.

Via BBC News, image via Microsoft.

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