Opera has launched a new browser for the iPad called Coast. It’s the result of nearly a year and a half of work born out of the frustration that browsers haven’t really changed since the days of Mosaic despite the fact that devices have evolved a lot since then. With multi-touch devices like tablets, Huib Kleinhout – leader of the Coast project – believed browsers needed to get with the times.
With Coast, they set out to build a tablet browser that eliminates many of the complexities in a desktop variant simply because tablet users don’t use browsers as a power tool. Making a new tablet interface with larger elements wasn’t enough.
Opera Coast uses almost no user interface elements save for a home button at the bottom of the screen and another small button to show recently visited sites. Everything else takes place through gestures as you’d naturally imagine they would. Swipe left or right to move forward or back through browsing history, etc.
The traditional bookmark list is replaced by an iOS-like home screen with large icons for your favorite sites. There’s also a search bar on the home screen which uses Opera’s backend services to suggest results as you type.
The app is available as of writing for iOS. It’s unclear if or when an Android version would be released although Kleinhout did say they are certainly looking at bringing the browser to other platforms.