The folks at Pocket-lint have got their hands on some exclusive information on Opera Software’s new project: a WebKit-based browser designed with touchscreen devices in mind.
Dubbed Ice (it’s not clear yet if that’s a codename or the final product name), the browser is supposed to be Opera’s answer to Chrome and Safari, the two major browsers that use the WebKit engine. The CEO of the Norwegian company was quite frank when he said that “Opera mini is great, but it is not a fully-fledged offering like Chrome or Safari. There are too many sites it doesn’t work with.”
We have a video demonstration of the new Ice browser, that Pocket-lint claims was recorded during a staff meeting before Christmas.
As you can see from the video, Opera is trying to replace graphical user interface elements, such as tabs and buttons, with simple swipes. Swiping left and right will take you through your history, while a nifty graphical search interface will show you search results (web pages) in real time.
Opera currently uses the in-house Presto engine to power its Opera Mobile browser. We don’t think that the company will give up on Presto completely, but rather use it along with WebKit.
Ice is expected to be launched or at least demoed at MWC 2013 in Barcelona. The browser will be made available for Android and iOS, but Windows Phone and other platforms are also an option.