Opera Mini is continuing to be a strong player in the mobile browser market, managing to notch up nearly 170 million users. This represents a big increase over last year, where it had less than half that number.
The browser's ranking, when compared to the other offerings from Google and Apple, is dependent on who you ask. Some studies claim that it's the top dog, others that it's trailing behind, a little. According to StatCounter (opens in new tab), while its usage numbers have jumped, its percentage stake in the market has remained quite constant in the past year. This has allowed the browser to retain the top spot, just above the Android and iPhone web surfing tools. Nokia, a once big player has dropped right down, with BlackBerry following suit, halving its percentage share in the last twelve months alone.
In terms of popularity, geographical location is also important. In developing nations, Opera Mini is vastly more popular. This is understandable, since in countries such as Egypt, Bangladesh, Senegal, Brazil and many others, mobile internet is the preferred method of online interaction. Wired connectivity in these countries is typically quite poor, making mobile internet - using browser's like Opera Mini - the best way to get online.
With developing nations becoming one of the driving forces in online expansion, for mobile browsing and social networking, it seems likely that Opera will continue to do very well, thanks to its availability on multiple platforms. In comparison, OS competitors like Apple could struggle due to the price of its handsets.