operaminiOpera’s browser for mobile handsets gets little recognition in America, but it’s been downloaded from GetJar’s application catalog 25 million times. The current version of the app has been grabbed over 7 million times. (The top countries for Opera Mini usage are, in order, Russia, Indonesia, India, China, Ukraine, and South Africa.)

That makes Opera far and away the most downloaded app at GetJar, which most Americans also probably wouldn’t recognize as the world’s largest mobile app catalog.

Opera Mini is a sweet little product — it even supports Flash. Its success, though, comes just as much from the Mozilla Foundation’s lack of a mobile browser. Fennec, the mobile spinoff of Firefox, isn’t ready for the mass market yet.

TechCrunch reports that Opera accounts for 25 percent of mobile browsers out there, according to analytics site StatCounter. It’s ahead of the Safari browser built into every iPhone, which accounts for 20 percent of browsers tracked by StatCounter.

Safari points to the right strategy for Opera to fend off its competition: Get installed as the default browser on the most popular phones possible. CEO Jon von Tetzchner has been working on deals with U.S. phone makers, but so far no Opera wins have been announced. I wouldn’t write them off yet, though. Given the browser’s popularity with customers who go out of their way to download and install it, there’s reason to believe the scrappy little Norwegian company will continue to beat the odds by executing on product development. Opera’s browser works really well. The End.

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