Opera has announced that it will release a new mobile browser called Opera Ice in February . The browser will be available on Android and iOS devices. It will use the same WebKit as Safari and Chrome do. In other words: Opera drops Presto which has powered it since 2003. The move of Opera is aimed at improving company’s positions on the mobile browser market. Opera Ice will have a whole bunch of new features, unique user interface, and enhanced control scheme.
According to Opera’s CEO Lars Boilesen, Opera Ice will provide a unique experience to any user. It will look like an internal video, he says, as the browser features all-touch control system based entirely on gestures, no buttons needed. There will be no tabs, but a new home screen page with icons and a single search/URL bar. The new browser will transform pages into apps, Boilesen says, making navigation and search as easy as never before. Gestures handle all, no tabs and menus needed. Opera Ice will be a visual experience, Boilesen assures, as it will have minimum tech and maximum comfort.
Opera Ice is to supplant Opera mini, a great mobile browser, as Boilesen says, but not great enough to compete with Chrome and Safari. As a result, the company decided to build an entirely new browser especially for mobile. Opera mini will still be supported, and Opera plans to release a desktop version of its browser in March. Android and iOS will be the first to have Opera Ice as they are the largest on the market. However, Windows Phone will also get it if it can manage to expand its market share. The only problem is that Opera will have to push the envelope to release a product attractive enough to make users switch from built-in software to its Ice browser. In addition to that, iOS users cannot make a third-party browser their default choice. All in all, Opera Ice looks very interesting and can change the way users browse on smartphones and tablets. If Opera manages to make web apps operate like native built-in apps, it will succeed.