Opera Unveils Coast, A Slick WebKit Browser For iPad

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Opera, the Norwegian web browser company that announced earlier this year that it was throwing in the towel on its own web-rendering technology and shifting to WebKit across all products has just released a new iPad browser: Coast.

According to Opera, Coast is “the browser your iPad deserves.”

The base principle of Coast is simple: it’s not trying to translate a traditional PC browsing paradigm on a tocuh interface. Instead, Opera is trying to rebuild browsing on tablets from the ground up, targeting “devices of the future, not the past.”

One of Opera’s big strengths as a company has always been robust gesture-support, and Coast is built from the ground up to feature a primarily gesture-based interface, while featuring a fullscreen look and minimal application chrome. Open up Coast and you won’t see a title bar, a web address, or a search view, although you can reveal these elements by swiping down from the top, similar to the way you find Spotlight on iOS 7. Other interface elements include a small home button that returns users to a grid of most visited websites, and a most recent button to display recent browsing history. Otherwise, it’s very slick.

I like it, although unfortunately, Coast is working at the same disadvantages as other browsers on iOS: forced to use Apple’s in-app WebKit rendering engine instead of super-fast Nitro, Chrome is slower than Mobile Safari at most tasks. Otherwise, though, this is a browser to check out.

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  • danstahl67

    This looks great. But what ever happened to Opera Ice that was announce back in mid-january ’13? That was supposed to be an iOS webkit browser. Now this is iPad only. Do anyone have any news on Opera Ice?

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John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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