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Friday, January 18, 2013, 04:42 pm PT (07:42 pm ET)

Opera unveils new 'Ice' mobile web browser for iOS and Android

Opera Software on Friday unveiled its latest project, a WebKit-based mobile browser called "Opera Ice" that is specifically designed for screen formats seen on popular smartphones and tablets, including the iPhone and iPad.

Opera


In an internal video released on Friday (via Pocket-lint), Opera gave a brief look at a beta of the new app, which features an icon-based interface much like the optional homescreens seen on desktop versions of Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome browsers.

According to the developers, the app was designed to hide the usual clutter seen with modern web browsers, including the ubiquitous URL bar, that takes up limited screen real estate on mobile devices. The so-called "full touch browser" does away with buttons and menus to create a spartan user interface driven by screen taps and gestures.

Instead of the Presto rendering engine that Opera has used for years, Ice is based on WebKit, the same engine used by both Apple and Google. The move is meant to keep Opera in the fast-changing mobile market.

"We need to focus on getting strong products out on iOS and Android," said Opera CEO Lars Boilesen.



As for the company's current mobile solution, Opera mini, Boilesen said that it won't be replaced by Ice. Instead, the platform will be leveraged to generate users that will eventually be migrated over to new mobile apps. Opera Ice is expected to debut sometime in February, while a new unannounced desktop browser is slated for a March release.