Investigating Opera Coast

I’ve always been a sucker for trying out new things.  One of my curiosities has always been the web browser.  I have a good collection on my desktop computer.  I seem to always be looking for the perfect solution.  Even on my iPad, I have a collection of browsers.  In fact, I have a folder full of browsers that I’ve accumulated.  There’s also Google Chrome which sits on my main screen.

It’s not necessarily a negative but there’s one thing that all of these browsers have in common.  They’re modelled after desktop browsers.  Think of your favourite desktop browser.  Traditionally, you’d find a tool bar with navigation arrows, tabs, addresses, etc.  In keeping with tradition, you might be moving your cursor around to click here and there.  Advanced skills make this easier if you program your mouse to do some of the common tasks.  Or, learn the short cut keys on your keyboard.  A similar sort of navigation is common for all of these tablet browsers, except Coast.

Coast is a new browser for the iPad from Opera.  I’ve been experimenting with it lately and I’ll admit…it’s not going terribly well.  My mind seems to be programmed to think of the traditional browser and how it works.  I keep wanting to reach for things that aren’t there.

Coast advertises itself as “the browser that should have come with the iPad” and it just does things differently.

Take a look at the screen capture of this insightful blog.

You’ll notice that there are no navigation arrows.  No address bar.  No tabs.  It’s just the web.

Coast is built for gestures.  No more reaching to the top corner for an arrow, just swipe to go forward or backward.  Need to go to a different tab?  Just tap on the icon in the bottom right corner and you swipe your way through what’s open until you get what you want.

Your bookmarks?  Just tap the grid icon in the bottom middle and you’re “home” to your pages of bookmarks.  Need to go to one, just tap on the appropriate icon and away you go.

Do you want to go somewhere new?  You’ll notice that Coast has its own version of an unified search/URL bar.  Type an address or a search term and you’re all set.  Visited websites get stored in a holding tank at the bottom of the screen.  You may then just drag them up to bookmark them for the future or drag to the top of  the screen to erase them.  It most certainly is a different way to use a browser but then a tablet is a different computing device than a desktop.  I’ve seen references made to Coast as a “stripped down” or “minimalist” browser but perhaps its feature set is all that is needed.

There a minimal number of settings available to configure Coast if you want.

Rather than a browser that is a tablet version of a desktop browser, this is a completely different animal.  Forget you what think you know about using a browser.  This will get you thinking differently; I’m still learning but I can see this becoming a favourite.  I’m not too proud to admit though; I’ve got to unlearn a great deal of old browsing habits!


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