Opera to Launch WebKit-Powered ‘Opera Ice’ Browser for iOS in Feb.


Opera is set to launch a brand new mobile browser for iOS and Android users in February, reports Pocket-Lint. Opera is the company behind Opera Mini for iOS, which was popular at launch but hasn’t made any real progress in marketshare on iOS and Android platforms.

The new browser called “Opera Ice” will be based on the WebKit engine (the basis of Safari and Chrome), a move away from the company’s in-house engine, Presto, used in Opera Mini (which launched in April of 2010 for iOS). The new browser aims to have a touch-based interface, skipping buttons in favour of gestures for key control elements:

“We need to go into a new phase, we need to lift our games on certain areas to ensure we continue to grow,” said Boilesen to those present, in what is a rather frank and candid chat to staff in the behind-closed-doors meeting.

Seeing that smartphones are going to be critical for the future of the company, Boilesen said, Opera will focus its efforts on releasing the new browser on schedule in February for iOS and Android.

“We need to focus on getting strong products out on iOS and Android. These are the two leading platforms we will focus on… They are the ones phones are being sold for,” he said.

While Opera Ice looks to be released in February, CEO Lars Boilesen notes Opera Mini will still be supported, even though “it is not a fully-fledged offering like Chrome or Safari.” In other words, Opera Mini is a horrible browser.

Check out the following demo of Opera Ice below–it has some pretty neat gestures for controls:

YouTube video

Anyone out there still using Opera Mini? It was deleted from my iPhone the moment after it was installed.