Feature Article

September 09, 2013

Opera Launches Minimalist Coast Browser for iPad

Opera has just announced a new browser tailored specifically to the iPad, dubbed Opera Coast, according to TechCrunch.

The new browser is a major rethinking of an application many people are familiar with on traditional desktop PCs.

“The teams behind Coast have truly outdone themselves in this project. Finally we have a browser your iPad deserves. I dare say that this is the best browsing experience on tablets anywhere,” says Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software. “Coast started as an initiative from some of our most creative engineers and designers, which quickly turned into something unique and truly awesome. After today, tablet users will expect more from their web experience, and Coast will be the first to deliver.”

The designers of Coast realized that people used tablet browsers differently from desktop browsers. It’s optimized for a “lean-back” experience instead of the “power-tool” approach of browsers like Firefox.

“Websites and apps today invite you to interact in new ways, but browser design for tablets has not pushed to liberate itself from the influence it has experienced from its computer and mobile phone cousins," Huib Kleinhout, head of the Coast project at Opera Software, said in a statement.  “On a tablet, browsers felt outdated, and that bothered me. Why? Because we make browsers for a living. We’re passionate about making the internet better.”

The design of Coast is a radical departure from traditional desktop and even other tablet browsers. There is no URL bar, no bookmarks, no tabs, and no forward and back buttons. The only user interface element is a “home” button near the bottom of the screen. Users navigate forward and back by swiping the screen.

A home screen with large icons representing the most frequently accessed websites, replacing the traditional bookmarks. It also contains a search bar. Coast emphasizes the page itself, showing it full screen

Kleinhout believes that the minimalistic browser matches the elegance of the iPad itself. For all of its radical design changes, it does share the WebKit rendering engine with Google Chrome and Apple’s own Safari browser. Opera plans to offer Coast on other tablets, but there’s no word on when it’s coming to Android.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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