Oslo, Norway, April 25, 2018 — Traditional software house Opera releases new kind of web browser, names it ‘Opera Touch.’ The design of the latest Opera browser is focused on mobile user behavior and preferences. Key features here are the ability to control the app with just a single hand and a simplified way to synchronize from mobile to desktop browser.
We haven’t seen much competition in the browser space for a while. Everybody seems to have settled with the hate-love-relationship they are in and usually don’t try out something new. While switching the browser might be one of the most disruptive changes an Internet user could transition through, it might be worth a try whenever there is an innovation to review.
Seeing the users, listening to the users
Opera is one of the fiercest browser competition for Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Firefox. With this new version ‘Opera Touch’ they are likely to gain additional users who see value in the new features and feel an improved user experience, especially when browsing websites on the go. The new app is available for Android and is said to be available for iOS devices soon too.
Following a survey they facilitated in the US, Opera found out that 86% of the questioned smartphone users prefer to use their devices with just one hand. Using other browser was not optimal for those people as they mostly had to work with both hands to navigate websites and do a web search. That’s why they designed their new app in a way that allows users to have all their controls in an area they can reach with their thumbs.
Another interesting feature here is the improved way of syncing to your desktop browser. Facing the problem that most users would just send themselves emails with links instead of making use of complex synchronization features of other browsers, Opera Touch introduces an easy-to-setup yet encrypted way of connecting a desktop browser session to your smartphone app.
Interview with the product manager
Maciej Kocemba, product manager at Opera, was kind enough to answer all our questions in an interview with us. Here is what he said:
Christopher Isak: How do the mobile and desktop browser link up without the use of a login and password? Is that safe to use?
Maciej Kocemba: The Flow service is fully end-to-end encrypted using solid and tested security technologies. It’s a safer option compared with for example using passwords.
CI: Can the Opera Touch app also be used by left-handed people? Was that considered when designing the UI?
MK: Yes. Opera Touch is made to be easy to use regardless of your hand dominance.
CI: Sync features seem to be available as well on other browsers. I know that the Chrome sync experience is effortless to set up, especially if you’re working on Android. How does the new Opera experience compare to Firefox, Chrome, Safari and other browsers?
MK: Opera was actually the first browser to introduce a sync feature in 2005. Our research shows, however, that 67 percent of people still use email to send links to themselves. The main reason why people don’t use legacy sync services is that they are too hard to set up and they are more of back-up services. Flow is super easy to set up, and its focus is not on being a back-up, but rather on creating your own personal stream of content between your devices.
CI: How do you plan on motivating users to switch from their current browsers and gain market share?
MK: Today’s browsers are quite old and conventional and provide too little uniqueness. At Opera, we focus on innovation and always to provide unique features such as built-in browser VPN, cryptojacking protection or integrated messengers. We see that this strategy is paying off and that millions of new people have now chosen our browsers over more traditional alternatives. Opera is more of a premium product for demanding users who want to do things quickly, in an elegant way, but don’t want to dig too much into browser settings. Touch is a continuation of this strategy – it’s a very cool looking browser that get’s things done for you.
CI: If the browser on desktop and the app for smartphones is free, how does Opera generate revenue? Will users see ads or will their data be monetized in a way?
MK: No, they won’t. We generate revenues when people use the built-in features like search.
CI: Why is there a built-in ad blocker? Is that not hostile towards publishers just like TechAcute?
MK: We have an opt-in ad-blocker in the Opera browser. This means it’s only turned on by users who really want an ad-blocker. We have seen that this is a smart choice, as we avoid problems like this. We also made it easy to turn off the ad-blocker for particular websites, i.e., to whitelist them. We think that the native ad-blocker carefully balances the demand from users, their security and publishers needs.
The browser can be downloaded for free, so I believe that nothing would stop you from giving this new browser a chance. I also recommend you to try it for about a week as the primary browser on your devices before you make a decision. Things like this take some time to settle and to realize the value truly.
Thanks as well to the helpful staff at Opera who supported us greatly when doing the preparations for this report. What browser are you using right now? Would you give Opera Touch a go? Drop your comments below in the comments!
YouTube: Opera Touch – Why smartphones need a new web browser | BROWSER | OPERA
Photo credit: Graphics provided by Opera
Source: Email contact with Opera PR team
Hi there and thanks for reading my article! I’m Chris the founder of TechAcute. I write about technology news and share experiences from my life in the enterprise world. Drop by on Twitter and say ‘hi’ sometime. 😉