updated 11:51 am EDT, Mon September 9, 2013
Coast removes most browser UI, relies on swiping, pared-down home screen
Opera has launched a new free browser for the iPad, one that aims to make web browsing act the same as navigating an app. Coast, available to download now, removes most of the usual items found in browsers, such as the top interface and address bar, and instead replaces it all with general actions typically associated with apps, such as swiping.
Concentrating on showing content rather than navigation, the home screen has a top search and address field, with a row of recently-opened sites at the bottom, and a Speed Dial grid with space for nine icons, which can be reordered by tapping and dragging icons around. Pulling down the search and address field brings up a full search screen with autocompleted keyword-based searching. When on a website, two icons at the bottom of the screen provide quick access to the home screen and to a list of recent sites. Swiping horizontally acts like the Forward and Back functions of browsers, while swiping down at the top of a page reloads the site. The recent sites list has similar app-style controls, allowing the user to swipe between earlier pages, and pushing sites upwards to dismiss them entirely.
The Coast browser, a project started by Opera Project Manager Huib Kleinhout and previously known as Opera Ice, has been designed specifically with the iPad in mind. "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," said Kleinhout, continuing "On a tablet, browsers felt outdated, and that bothered me."
While it is currently an iPad app, Opera has not revealed if it will be making its way to the iPhone in any other form, nor if it will appear on Android or desktop computers in the future.