Opera's iPad Coast browser debuts, packaging websites as apps

Opera's iPad Coast browser debuts, packaging websites as apps

Summary: Opera's new Coast browser for the iPad ditches tabs and buttons in favour of swipes.

TOPICS: Browser, iOS, iPad
Opera's Coast browser screenshot
Image: Opera

Opera has released Coast, its new browser just for the iPad that borrows from the native app experience on the tablet and applies it to web browsing.

Coast, released on the App Store on Monday, does away with familiar mainstays of the browser interface such as the URL field, back and forward icons, tabs and bookmarks.

Instead, like Apple's iOS homescreen, navigation is controlled by swipe gestures, such as a left swipe to go back, dragging on a site's icon for Opera's speed dial, or drag down to reload a page.

"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."

There are also only two buttons on the interface: one that takes users back to the home page and another that shows recently-visited sites. So, while running multiple tabs won't be possible, visited websites are compiled at the bottom of the screen in stacks based on a single continuous session.

Users can also pin their most visited sites as icons to the browser's home page beneath the search bar.

Another focus of Opera's new WebKit-based browser was to utilise the screen's entire real estate to display pages. And despite the lack of an address bar, Opera claims there are 'can't miss' warnings when a person opens site that sets off site-reputation alarms.

Opera hasn't said whether Coast will be rolled out to the iPhone and other platforms yet, which Opera currently supports on Android with its Opera Mini and Opera Mobile browsers.

Further reading

Topics: Browser, iOS, iPad

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Fascinating concept

    Tradition browser controls gone, replaced by gesture swipes. Can't wait to give it a go.

    Websites as apps (that sounds a bit like Chromebook). Is Opera going to make a play for the OS market?
  • Awesome New Browser

    I really like what the folks at Opera did here with revolutionizing the way we use our browser on touch enabled device. This may be the first time that I'll regularly use an Opera browser. I downloaded it yesterday from the App Store, used it for a whole day and it only crashed on me once thus far. It does seem a tad bit slower than Chrome or Safari for iPad, but I imagine they will trim down the code or do away with some bloated features or animations in future iterations/versions. I imagine Apple, Google, Firefox, and Dolphin, etc. will piggyback on some of these ideas in their future mobile browser versions. I would give it 4 1/2 stars out of 5 just on the merits of Opera changing the game for mobile web browsers and coming up with something intuitive, fresh, and new.