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Opera releases 'Coast' iPad browser


Opera Software today released a new browser for the iPad that re-imagines the way users interact with the web.

A press release touting the app's release reads in part:

The web has evolved exponentially from drab, grey webpages with blue, linked text to vivid, elegant pages with complex graphics, videos and other interactive information. Yet, so far, the web experience on tablets has been limited to browsers that are either scaled-up versions of mobile browsers or scaled-down desktop browsers. Opera wanted to do something about that.

Dubbed Coast, and based on WebKit, Opera employee Huib Kleinhout told The Verge that the new browser is "futuristic" and is an effort to bring the browsing experience up to par with the evolution of content on the web. To that end, Coast is unique insofar as it treats different websites as unique and distinct applications.

Translation? Say goodbye to traditional browser mainstays like the back and forward buttons. In Coast, users navigate around the web by using gestures.

Despite the grandiose thinking, Coast isn't actually all that unrecognizable. While it eschews almost all interface chrome, its main screen still resembles the smart, new tab pages in modern browsers, which automatically fill in your most visited sites. Perhaps more aptly, it looks and acts just like the home screen of an iPad. Websites appear as app-icon style squares, tapping on an icon opens up a site, pressing and holding on one allows them to be rearranged and swiping side to side switches between additional screens. And like iOS at large, browsing on Coast is a single-pane experience too. One website takes up the entire screen, and you either have to go back to the home screen or navigate to a discrete page switcher in order to jump around to another site.

Coast is available as a free download on the App Store and is iPad-only.

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