Opera has been working on a new kind of mobile web browser for much of the year, and now it’s available for the iPad. The Coast by Opera web browser features some of the company’s standard features including a “Speed Dial” which puts icons for your favorite web pages on the start screen.
But Coast differs from Opera’s other web browsers in that it’s designed from the ground up for use on touchscreen tablets. There’s a focus on offering content in full-screen views while hiding the user interface, and Opera has dropped the need for on-screen buttons at all. You navigate Coast using gestures.
The free web browser doesn’t have back or forward buttons. Instead, you swipe to go back or forward.
There are a few buttons — at the bottom of the screen there’s a small home button to take you back to the Coast home screen, and another shows recently visited sites. You can add any of those to your bookmarks.
In a lot of ways, Coast gets back to the basic idea of what a browser should be: a gateway to content on other websites. Instead of adding buttons that let you share pages to the browser itself, it’s up to websites to include links to social networks if they so choose.
Still, the browser might be a bit too simple for some. Since there’s no URL bar, you might have a hard time telling what page you’re on, or if it’s a secure site. And to go to a new page you’ll either need to return to the home screen and use the search bar or hit the recent sites button.
Coast by Opera is available as a free download from the App Store.