Opera Mini officially surfs Helio's Ocean

Fans of the Opera Mini browser have been adding hacked versions of it to the Helio Ocean smartphone for months. Now Opera and Helio have made the download official.

Users will no longer have to hack their Helio to use Opera Mini. (Credit: Heliocity.com)

For mobile service Helio, it's a sure sign you're doing something wrong if the most popular app among your user community is a hack. For Opera Software, the fact that it's your app is a sure sign you're doing something right.

Since last August, users at the Helio community site Heliocity have been peddling a re-engineered version of the Opera Mini browser that was specially hacked with the Ocean smartphone in mind. Seven months later, Rod Hamlin, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Opera Software, got on the phone to confirm that starting Wednesday, Opera Mini will be officially available on Ocean phones.

"We've always been really impressed with the Ocean as a device and (with) Helio for really listening to their user community," Hamlin said of the partnership. "Opera Mini became a popular hack, so the Helio folks came to us and wanted to make it an official download."

While Norway-based Opera has benefited from deals with American manufacturers--Opera Mobile and Opera Mini have shipped with select Motorola phones since 2003--this agreement with Helio marks the first time that the company has inked a deal with a U.S. mobile service provider.

Opera Mini for Helio Ocean will be available on Wednesday via the Ocean's on-deck Web portal and will also ship on Helio Ocean phones. According to Hamlin, the two companies may soon discuss support for other Helio models.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.