Opera’s New “Ice” Mobile Browser launching In February for Android and iOS; Drops WebKit Presto
Opera unveiled a major new mobile browser innovation called ‘Opera Ice’, and it’s coming this February. The new browser is based on the same WebKit rendering engine used by Apple’s Safari and Google Chrome, rather than the Presto, which has powered Opera since 2003.
Opera’s CEO Lars Boilesen describes the new browser in an internal video published by Pocket-lint: “No buttons, no menus, just a pure visual experience, that’s what we’re building here”. And indeed, as the video shows, it’s now an all-touch gesture-based control system, with tabs gone, in favour of a home screen with page icons, and a single combined search and URL bar handles all new page opening duties. As it looks, the developers at the company have decided to build something from scratch that is designed for use in a mobile environment.
Opera mini will continue to be supported however, and there’s apparently also a new version of Opera for desktop slated for a March release.
Naturally, iOS and Android are the first logical targets for the Opera Ice. Windows Phone may however also join, depending on its market share, according to Boilesen.
Now, there’s the challenge for the new mobile browser to prove attractive enough to replace a user’s built-in software. Opera Ice may indeed attract with the unique control paradigm, but it still has to face the fact that iOS users can’t select a third-party browser as their default choice.