In some ways, Microsoft’s selection of Windows phone apps is reminiscent of the early days of the iPhone. Users who have been on iOS for a while will remember Apple’s initial resistance to apps offering users an alternate to Apple’s mobile Safari web browser. Apple’s since changed course, approving numerous browser alternatives for inclusion in its App Store. While Microsoft, on the other hand, doesn’t specifically prohibit alternate browsers, there’s quite the dearth of them on the platform. At least, that’s the situation unless you’re willing to do a little hacking, in which case you can check out the very latest browser for WP7, a port of Opera Mobile.
Unlike alternate browsers like Firefox, Opera isn’t open source. How has it been ported to Windows Phone, then? Instead of the latest Opera Mobile 11, as available on iOS and Android, this release is based on Opera Mobile 10, which had been released on Windows Mobile while the platform still existed. This version is essentially that release, wrapped-up in a package to make it accessible on Windows Phone.
The only problem is that getting an app to run in such a manner requires a very-much unlocked Windows Phone handset. A legit unlock won’t cut it, nor will the inerop unlock we recently looked at. You’re going to have to be running a phone with a fully-unlocked ROM, like Freedom from the DarkForcesTeam. That’s bound to turn-off more than a few users, but it’s the price you’ll have to pay to check out this version of Opera Mobile.