Opera Software announced the release of two new products, a brand new mobile browser called Opera Touch (with iOS due to follow shortly) and a new version of the Opera browser for computers.
Opera Touch has been designed from the ground up to fit the way people actually use the web: on the move. The new mobile browser also seamlessly connects with the updated Opera PC browser without the need of establishing a password or login.
Opera Touch is designed to work in tandem with Opera’s desktop browser using Flow, a means of instantly sharing tabs between desktop and mobile. It’s also been optimized to facilitate fast web searches and for one-handed use.
“Today, we are introducing a new type of web experience. One where you can have a continuous flow of your content across all your devices,” Krystian Kolondra, EVP and Head of Opera Browsers said.
The main feature is Flow, which works in tandem with the recently updated Opera 52.0.2871.97 desktop browser. Users link mobile and computer through a QR code – go to Speed Dial in the desktop browser and click the new arrow button on the left to follow the prompts to link the two together via end-to-end encryption.
linked, users can send pages to Flow via the arrow button found in the top right corner of the Opera Touch app or on the right of the Address bar in the Opera desktop browser.
The Flow screen itself displays content in chronological order with a handy preview – click a link to visit it in a separate tab. Users can also leave notes for themselves, plus click the Settings button to erase all content from the Flow, disconnect individual devices or reset the connection and start from scratch.
In addition to acting as a conduit between PC and mobile, Opera Touch has been designed for one-handed use and is primarily optimized for performing fast web searches. It supports multiple tabbed browsing – users can switch between tabs by tapping and holding with one finger, then selecting the tab icon from the list shown.
Opera Touch also comes with the same ad-blocking and cryptocurrency-mining protections found in its desktop siblings – these need to be enabled from the app’s Settings.
As stated, the desktop browser has been updated to support Flow. The update also introduces an additional feature: Instant Search. Press Alt + Space to quickly search the web, or Ctrl + Space to launch a search of open tabs. Once open, users can switch between web and tab searches by pressing the Tab key.
“We have moved the browser’s key functions within your thumb’s reach. This means that, unlike in most other browsers, you can more easily browse and search the web when on the move,” Maciej Kocemba, product manager at Opera said.
Instantly ready to search
The first thing you will notice in Opera Touch is that the starts in search mode and is instantly ready to find things on the web. The keyboard is up and the address bar cursor is blinking. Opera Touch doesn’t require the user to make any additional moves or taps before they can start searching.
“People want to quickly find a thing online and move on with their lives. That’s why we’ve reduced the number of steps before they can start their search to zero,” added Kocemba.
Opera Touch also supports voice search and lets you scan QR and barcodes. These smart additions to search make the browser useful on the go when, for example, you see a product at a shop and want to check its reviews, tutorials or prices online.
FAB: the button that changes your browsing experience
The browser also features a Fast Action Button at the bottom of the screen to accomplish the one-handed browsing experience. The neatly designed feature is always available on the browser screen and provides direct access to the most recent tabs and a search feature. It also allows the user to navigate through all of the browser’s features with just their thumb.
Flow: mobile and desktop web become one
According to Opera’s US survey, 69 percent of smartphone users don’t use their browser’s syncing features. Additionally, 65 percent of users resort to e-mailing or sending messages to themselves or their loved ones just to save the links to important websites or to later access them on their PCs. That’s because syncing is often too problematic and takes as much as 13 steps to set up.
People invented these life hacks because no simple solutions were available. We’ve fixed that. In Opera Touch, setting up the connection between your smartphone and your desktop browser takes only one step,” said Maciej Kocemba.
Encrypted stream of things that you share with yourself
This one step, which consists of scanning a QR code displayed in the Opera computer browser with Opera Touch, establishes Flow, Opera’s innovative way of allowing the user to share links, images, videos or notes with themselves. Flow is a stream of things that one shares with oneself. It is available both in Opera Touch and in the updated version of the Opera PC browser. And the good news? It doesn’t require any logins or passwords. Whenever an item, such as a scan of medical results or a website with top restaurants to check out, is added to the Flow on one device, the other one instantly receives it. Flow is end-to-end encrypted, and works independently of operating systems and manufacturers.
Faster searching with the new version of Opera for computer
The Opera browser for computers has also been updated. The new version of the PC browser has been carefully designed to work together with Opera Touch through the Flow feature. It also includes Instant Search, a new feature which lets users quickly search the web and their open tabs. Just hit the keyboard shortcut ALT + Space or the button in the sidebar on any page to start searching.
Opera Touch is available for free download for Android 5.0 or later. The Flow feature requires the latest version of Opera 52.0 for Windows, Mac and 64-bit Linux users. Existing users can update from within Opera itself – simply open the Opera menu and choose About Opera to do so.