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Opera launches new dedicated iPad browser

09 September 2013, 15:01Duncan Alfreds

Cape Town - Software company Opera has released a new browser for the iPad.

The company announced on Monday the release of Coast, which has been specifically built for the popular Apple device.

"We've cracked the code and have now launched a truly outstanding web experience on tablets. This is not a mere mobile browser tweak, nor a scaled-down PC browser. It is something new," Norway-based Opera said.

Traditional mobile browsers have a similar look and feel to desktop equivalents, but Opera insisted that the Coast browser was a game-changer.

"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 Huib Kleinhout, head of the Coast project at Opera Software.

User experience

Opera has a dominant share of the mobile browser market including feature phones, but the company has been racing to release browsers dedicated for smart devices, as sales of these take off.

Smart devices have their own browsers and according to StatCounter, Opera's share of the browser market as at August 2013, was around 16%, third behind Apple Safari and Google's Android browsers.

The Coast browser application is meant to enhance the user experience on the iPad and Opera wants to deliver a more integrated users experience.

"I have a background in user experience and am in love with the thoroughly refined iPad, and we wanted to design an app targeting the devices of the future, not the past," said Kleinhout.

The Opera browser does not have the fields of traditional browsers and users interact with the software much as one would with the touch screen device. Swiping backward, for example, goes back a page.

"Old conventions are out with Coast: There is no URL field at the top of the screen, no back or forward buttons, no tabs and no bookmarks. Yet, it all flows naturally and blends into the use of the iPad," Kleinhout added.

The Coast app is a free download on the App Store and expectations are that Opera will release a similar version for Android tablets.

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