Opera has released a new Android web browser with a couple of clever interface choices to make it easier to use than other mobile browsers. This will be called Opera Touch.
When you open it, the address bar immediately opens up and is ready for you to start typing a URL or a search query. When you’re on a website, scrolling up will reveal a button at the bottom of the page for you to tap to access your other tabs or new ones.
That is one useful addition mostly because a lot of mobile browsers place all of their buttons on the top of the screen so users have to reach up in order to change tabs. Being able to do that with just one hand is very convenient.
Opera Touch also adds a feature that allows you to push websites from your phone to your desktop and vice versa as long as you’re using Opera on both platforms. Some of it will happen automatically (a “continue from computer” option will pop up when you open a new tab on your mobile phone), if you want to make sure that a file transfers over, send it using a free Opera calls “Flow.” Flow creates a feed of websites that you have shared from one platform to another that you can scroll back through to find what you are looking for.
However, there’s no way of saying that these new features will be enough to get users to use the Opera browser as most desktop users prefer Chrome as their default browsers and Chrome also includes a tab syncing feature even though it is one that is harder to use. It also seems as if Chrome is trying to get its navigation bar shifted to the bottom.
What Opera seems to be doing at the moment is releasing ideas very often about how a browser could be. They may be good sometimes, other times they are not and it has doubtfully made any significant impression. Take for example, Opera released an experimental browser called Neon last January which has not been updated in about a year. Since it is no longer competitive in the browser space, attempting creation of new interfaces appears to be a smart way of getting attention.
Opera Touch is only available on Android at launch, but an iOS version is on its way. Opera also plans to continue development of its existing mobile browser.