“No buttons. No menus. Just a pure visual experience. That’s what we’re building here.” So says the creator of Ice, the upcoming mobile Web browser from Opera.
As first reported by Pocket-Lint, the popular Norwegian software company is set to release Ice on iOS and Android soon. But you can already see it in action in the video below.
The video shows a presentation given during an internal meeting held before Christmas, in which Opera CEO Lars Boilesen outlined the company’s plans for 2013 before giving the floor to product managers.
Apparently, one of the product managers is the creator of Ice, who demonstrates the touch-optimized browser in the video.
Running on WebKit instead of Opera’s proprietary Presto engine, Ice is characterized by its use of an icon arrangement akin to Opera’s speed dial or, more notably, the iOS home screen. As such, Ice practically treats websites as apps.
Indeed, according to the presenter, a Web app like Google Maps “feels and works like a native application” when rendered in Ice.
Ice also comes with a small home button, with which you can exit to your collection of websites.
If you can’t see the video embedded above, please click here.
Of course, the browser also comes with an address bar, on which you can perform a search or enter a URL. Notice that as you do, you’re treated to a “new visual experience” that lets you easily switch search engines or go directly to your desired webpage.
If you want to add the webpage to your collection, just tap the browser’s home button and drag the webpage’s icon onto the speed dial arrangement.
Ice also boasts an absence of “boring” buttons, replacing them with gestural actions and “visual effects.” For example, if you want to go back to the previous page, you just have to swipe to the right.
The upcoming browser also shows security warnings on sites that may pose a threat to your device or online identity.
Said to be 10 months in the making, Ice is coming to iOS and Android in February. But Opera maintains that Ice is not going to boot Opera Mini off the mobile browsing scene.
“Opera Mini is great,” said Boilesen, “but it is not a fully-fledged offering like Chrome or Safari. There are too many sites it doesn’t work with.”
And Opera’s soon-to-be-released Ice is set to remedy that and then some.