Apple Allows 3rd Party Web Browsers into App Store

Over the past 24 hours, Apple has begun to approve 3rd party web browsing applications for the iPhone. A number of new web browsing apps have suddenly appeared with original submission dates ranging as far back as October.

While Apple has made no official acknowledgements, it appears these applications were likely in a special queue awaiting for approval. We had seen a similar "group" delays with other categories of apps. The most notable example involved flatulence applications such as Pull My Finger and iFart Mobile. Once Apple decided to allow the category within the App Store, a backlog of apps quickly appeared.

Web browsing applications were previously charged with "duplicating functionality" of other iPhone apps and was felt to be the reason why Opera would never be approved by Apple.

A partial list of these new applications include:

- Edge Browser (Free) - No loss of screen real estate to the address or navigation bars.
- Incognito ($1.99) - Now you can browse without leaving a history of any kind.
- WebMate:Tabbed Browser ($0.99) - Web Mate simplifies browsing by queuing up all the links you click on, then allowing you to view them one by one when you're ready.
- Shaking Web ($1.99) - adds a sophisticated algorithm to compensate for small hand shaking to allow for easier reading.

This could open the door for mobile versions of prominent web browsers such as Opera and Firefox, though there remain other SDK restrictions that could prevent full-featured versions of those browsers from appearing. Still, Apple appears to be loosening some early restrictions they had applied to the App Store approval process.

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