While apple has been good about rolling out improvements to most aspects of the iPhone, Mobile Safari seems to have been left by the wayside, leaving other developers to pick up the reins. Apple appears to be content with Mobile Safari’s poor performance (particularly on older devices like our 2nd gen iPod Touch) and lack of, now-standard, features like (true) tabbed and anonymous browsing.
Serveral developers have taken up the charge, with the most recent being Opera Software who just submitted the iPhone version of their Opera Mini browser to apple for review. As you can see in the included video below, it looks lightning fast when compared to the native Mobile Safari browser. It also features some slick looking tabbed-browsing w/ page previews and no time-consuming page refreshing.
iLegendSoft’s Mercury Browser (available in both lite and $0.99 Pro versions) is another great alternative to the native app. It too offers a very nice tabbed browsing experience and, while we haven’t done any side-by-side testing, it definitely seems faster as well.
Apple really needs to get on the ball and start improving their mobile broswer or at least give users an option for changing the default browser (but this is rather unlikely). Hopefully the forthcoming iPhone OS 4.0 update will offer some much needed Safari browser enhancements.