Opera Mini storms mobile app market, but Safari is close behind

Mobile browser Opera Mini has clocked up more than 25 million downloads via GetJar, the mobile app market backed by Accel Partners. That makes it GetJar’s most popular app ever. The latest version of Opera Mini (v4.2) has been downloaded 7.5 million times since the beginning of the year, which is not too shabby.

Opera Mini is also making Firefox eat dust in the mobile world. Firefox has been promising a full-blown mobile browser for a year, but Mozilla users are still waiting, although Mozilla has released Fennec 3, a beta version of its open-source touch mobile browser. Meanwhile, Opera Mini users are enjoying a pretty advanced browser which also runs Flash. Its popularity shows that mobile users are clearly not satisfied with the standard browser they tend to get thrown in with their cellphone.

StatCounter says Opera has a 25% share of the mobile browser market, followed by the iPhone’s Safari browser, on about 20%. That goes to show how powerful Safari is becoming, and that’s even ahead of the rumored Apple Tablet announcement.

The news is good for GetJar and shows how a single app store which can serve multiple platforms can scale, since Getjar is serving Java, Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile platforms. What’s interesting is that GetJar also provides direct links into the iPhone app store, while it’s clear the user experience on mobile leaves a lot to be desired compared to browsing the iTunes store via the iPhone.