Opera Mini Confirmed for the iPhone

Mobile Safari on the iPhone will finally have some real competition. Today, Opera announced that the Opera Mini browser should be available in the iPhone App Store, for free, within the next 24 hours. This is big news. Up until this point, Safari Mobile has been basically the only real browser available for the iPhone. There are quite a few other browsers available, but they are all based on the Webkit engine (the same engine used to power Safari Mobile). Opera Mini is the first fully competitive browser to be released on the iPhone.

In addition, this will help expand Opera’s mobile market share. Although Opera has a very low adoption rate among desktop users, Opera is extremely pervasive among mobile devices. Although it’s difficult to find reliable, dependable statistics for mobile browsers, some reports indicate that Opera Mobile has the highest market share among mobile browsers (above Safari Mobile). Imagine how much stronger that hold on the market can get, now that Opera Mini will be available on the iPhone.

Twitter Buys Tweetie iPhone Client

The Web has been all abuzz over the last few days about the fact that Twitter has officially purchased the Tweetie iPhone Twitter client from its creator. This acquisition brings to mind a few questions:

  1. How is a group/company with no obvious source of income (other than investors) purchasing a commercial venture, and, how are they able to make it free (are they going to introduce advertisements)?
  2. What does this mean for other Twitter clients that are being developed for the iPhone? Will Twitbird, Tweetdeck and Echofon (formerly TwitterFon) fall off the face of the planet now that an official Twitter client has been chosen? Granted, Tweetdeck and Echofon are both diversified enough that losing the iPhone market will most likely not break them, but it still does not bode well; nor does it bode well for the spirit of competition and race to features currently found in the App Store.
  3. What does this mean for customers that already purchased the Tweetie iPhone client at full price? If advertisements are injected into the free version offered by Twitter, will paid customers have the option to opt out of those? Will there be any compensation or incentives for those that paid for the app?

What are your thoughts? What does this mean for the future of Twitter clients on the iPhone? Will the other clients go the way of non-bit.ly URL shortening services?

Advent Calendars for Geeks on the Web

Photo found on PaperLadyInvite’s Flickr stream (Creative Commons attribution at the bottom of this post).

Those of you familiar with religious Christmas-season (at least in the western hemisphere) traditions have probably heard of (and possibly even enjoyed) an Advent calendar a few times in your life. For those of you that don’t know about Advent or Advent calendars, here is a quick history, so you’ll understand the concept:

Advent is the season immediately prior to Christmas. It is a four-week event that begins on the Sunday that occurs four weeks before Christmas Day (so, this year, it began last Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009). Traditionally, there is a wreath that includes four candles (one for each Sunday between the start of Advent and Christmas Day). On the first Sunday of Advent, you light the first candle in the wreath. On the second Sunday, you light the first and second candles, etc.

Twitbird Pro – A Nice Twitter Client for the iPhone

Twitbird iconTwitbird Pro (TBP) is a really nice Twitter client for the iPhone. Although the interface is a little amateurish (although, it almost perfectly mimics the native SMS interface on the iPhone), TBP is packed full of really nice features. Following are some of the really cool things you can do with TBP. Keep in mind that the latest version of TBP was released over a month ago, so native retweets, geolocation, lists, etc. were not yet available on Twitter. I’m hoping that a new version of TBP will be coming soon with those features built in.

iPhone Firmware 3.1.2 Released

On Thursday, Apple released the 3.1.2 version of the iPhone firmware. The new release supposedly fixes a major bug found in version 3.1 that caused the iPhone to fall asleep and not wake up, requiring the user to reset the phone in order to get it working again. The update also supposedly fixes a video streaming issue (I never noticed this issue) and some cellular connectivity issues.

There is no word as to whether or not this update will address the battery problems iPhone users have been experiencing since the 3.1 update or not.

Web Development for the iPhone

I am now attending a session on developing Web applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The presenter is Steve VanBrackle. Unfortunately, I have already discovered that this session is going to be completely dependent upon a Mac program called DashCode, for which there appears to be no Windows alternative. The interface for DashCode appears insanely easy to use, though.

To begin, VanBrackle simply created a new project. A working shell app was immediately created for him to edit and customize. All of the buttons, bars, etc. are automatically generated as part of the app.

He is now demonstrating how simple it is to click and drag information from a data store into the app. For the most part, it’s creating a JSON file to generate the data that’s being displayed in the application. Because of this format, it is easy to create the app a single time and then replace the data without having to redo everything.

At this point, he’s showing us how to add new buttons to the application, once again using click and drag interfaces. Once he places the button, a dialog appears presenting him with the choice of various event handlers that are available on the iPhone with buttons. By clicking one of the event handlers and typing the name of a function, a new, empty function is automatically created in the code window, allowing him to insert his custom code into the function.