Talking tech since 2003

Despite the fact that it’s becoming more and more ubiquitous, web browsing off of a full-sized computer can be an exercise in frustration. Oftentimes, what works well on a desktop or laptop computer winds up working weird—or just downright bad—on a tablet or phone. There are some solutions already in the works in terms of the people who make the websites we browse, like the browsing layer add-on But the engineers at Opera are set to release a new, tablet-optimized web browser called Coast for the iPad that’s meant to make web browsing a joy rather than a hassle.

According to a post on TechCrunch, Coast takes its cues from the minimalistic style of Apple’s iPad GUI, taking out the “back” and “forward” buttons, letting users navigate the Internet via gestures and a few tiles that link to the most visited pages. The big boss of the Coast team at Opera, Huib Kleinhout, explained the reasoning behind the new browser’s design decisions on Opera’s Coast site:

“Why is there a back button in iPad browsers? The iPad is, after all, designed for touch. You swipe, drag and use gestures to move around.

Websites and apps today invite you to interact in new ways, but browsers have been stuck in a keyboard-and-mouse world. They felt outdated, and that bothered us. Why? Because we make browsers for a living. We are passionate about making the internet better.”

Like Chrome (and other browsers since Chrome’s innovations), it seems that the browser bar will do double duty for searching the web as well as to enter in URLs. This is great—ever since I switched to Chrome, the thought of not being able to use the browser bar as Google in and of itself has seemed silly. That’s also the reason I miss out on a lot of Google Doodles, but I digress.

I’ve been web browsing with my Windows 8 tablet the last few weeks, and I’ve been frustrated because of weird design decisions. Chrome for Windows 8 is the opposite of touch-optimized, and there are actually two separate versions of Internet Explorer—one for Desktop mode, and one for Metro mode, and neither seem to talk to each other or allow for a seamless transition from one to the other.

Having a browser like Coast could be the answer to my prayers. According to the TechCrunch post, however, it’s currently only on iPad. It’s conceivable that Opera will bring out a version of the browser for Android or Windows Mobile (or 8!), but until we get a formal announcement, us non-iPad owners will just have to browse with envy.

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