Opera's Coast browser wants to be the casual iPad user's best friend

Coast by Opera seeks to redefine browsing on the iPadCasual seems to be in with Opera this season. With the release of Coast, Opera Software has turned its

Casual seems to be in with Opera this season. Having turned its attention from Android to iOS with Coast, Opera is hoping the stripped-down approach to browsing will work for the iPad.

Rather than pack features for power users, Coast's gesture-based navigation system is designed for the casual user, ideally someone who doesn't use their iPad for heavy work. “You coast, not browse,” Mrunmaiy Abroal, Corporate Communication Head at Opera Software, told tech2.

Opera's Coast browser wants to be the casual iPad user's best friend

Say goodbye to buttons on browsers


The browser does away with buttons. In fact there are just two of them on the whole screen. To go back to a page you were just on, you simply need to swipe to your right, and to go forward, to your left. The two buttons merely bring up a speed dial and tabs that are open on Coast. The speed dial page, contains large tiles of your bookmarks and recently-visited websites.  “You can have unlimited home pages on Coast,” said Abroal. “You are only limited by the space on your device.” Opera is hoping that users think of the speed dial as containing apps rather than websites.

Coast uses the entire display to show content and just that; there is no address bar either. Unfortunately, this is a bit of a problem since you need at least two taps to be able to enter a new URL. Coast is targetted at individuals who have a personal iPad, so there's no sign of a private browsing or incognito mode. But that doesn't mean there's no warning for users when visiting possibly dodgy sites. The broswer's security engine is linked to an online database of unsafe sites and Coast keeps users out of such sites. Users can also verify how safe a site is through the history page. 


During our time with the browser, therer were a few chinks that Opera says its aware of and is working on. It is also working on optimising the application for iOS 7, and you have a good reason to get excited about this tablet browser.

No compromise as far as security goes

No compromise as far as security goes


One potential problem is that Coast could cannibalise usage of Opera's Opera Mini mobile browser. “We’re working on improving Coast as well as Opera Mini for iPad,” Abroal said, and remained unfazed about such a possibility. She said that while Opera Mini is targetted for quick browsing thanks to its data compression and speed, Coast allows for a more casual, full browsing experience. So the usage scenarios are different and Opera is hoping that users see it that way too.

Having been built from ground-up, keeping in mind how a tablet is used, Coast brings a great way to surf and it's shame that it's restricted to just iPads and is not on Android or even Windows. While it doesn’t look like Coast is about to make the journey to Google's OS anytime soon, but Abroal did not rule out the possibility, “If there’s enough demand for an Android version of Coast, who knows?

You can download Coast by Opera for iPad from the App Store.

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