Opera, iPhone vie for mobile browsing honors

Opera and the iPhone are engaged in a heated battle to become the most-used mobile browser, with Opera pulling ahead in May, web analytics firm StatCounter said.

Opera took 24.6% of the global browsing market, compared to 22.3% for the iPhone, the firm said.

“Opera began the year in number one slot but iPhone overtook it in February,” said StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen. “It will be fascinating to watch how this battle plays out over the year.”

But if the iPod Touch were included in Apple's total, Apple would trounce Opera – the iPod Touch alone took 14.9% of the browsing market, coming in at fourth place behind Nokia, with 17.9%.

BlackBerry accounted for 6.9% of pageviews, up from 4.9% in January. “Despite the global recession it looks as if executives are holding on to their BlackBerrys,” Cullen said.

Next on the list were Sony's PSP, Sony Ericsson, OpenWave and Android – all with between 2% and 3.2% market share.

These figures are based on analysis of 4 billion global pageviews per month, StatCounter said.