Tired of tabs in your browser? Try Opera Coast, now available for iPhone and iPod touch in the iTunes App Store. The new browser launched on Thursday for smaller iOS devices, having been available on the iPad since last September, and has a very minimalist but effective interface for immersive web surfing.
Unlike traditional mobile browsers with distractions such as the URL bar, buttons, and menus, Opera Coast focuses more on the content; that’s a good thing. It’s easy to pin favorite sites, which are similar to tiles that are big enough to tap. These remind me of Opera’s “speed dial” browser interface from years ago; tapping and holding on one lets you remove a favorite, similar to managing apps in iOS (see above). Searching or typing out a web address is only a screen swipe away. And a few taps lets you share content quickly as you can see in this brief overview video of Opera Coast:
Although I use both Safari and Chrome on my iPhone, Opera Coast impresses me. Other browsers could learn much from the simplicity of the experience that Coast brings. Aside from the removal of tabs and buttons, Coast uses the pull-down gesture to refresh a page, for example. You also swipe left or right to go back or forward a page.Your home screen filled with favorites is just a tap away as well.
When I use Coast, I feel more like I’m consuming the web, not navigating it; simply looking at content through a clear window instead of viewing moving parts just to get at information I’m looking for. While I’m still not sold on third-party browsers ever becoming a huge hit on iOS — mainly because they can’t be set as the default browser — Opera Coast has quickly found a permanent place on my iPhone’s home screen.