Opera Touch is a new Android browser tailored for one-handed use

Opera is launching a new Android web browser today with a couple of smart interface options meant to make it easier to use than other mobile browsers. It is called Opera Touch, and the interface is designed with the use of only one hand.

When you open it, the address bar opens immediately and is ready for you to start typing a URL or a search query. And when you're on a website, scrolling up will show a button at the bottom of the page that you can touch to access the other tabs or to start a new one.

That's just a useful addition: a lot of mobile browsers still place all their buttons at the top of the screen (ie, Chrome), forcing you to move closer or change the position of your hand to change the tabs. Being able to do that with just one hand is definitely a convenience.

Opera Touch also includes a feature that allows you to pass websites from your phone to your desktop, or vice versa, as long as you are using Opera on both platforms. Some of that will happen automatically (a "continue from computer" option will appear when you open a new tab on your mobile), but if you want to make sure a site is transferred, you can send it using a function called Opera "Flow." Flow creates a source of websites that you have shared from one platform to the other to which you can scroll to find what you are looking for.

Those are good features, but I do not know enough to convince people to change any browser they are currently using. Especially because, when you exit browser usage statistics, you are much more likely to use Chrome on your desktop than Opera, and the tab synchronization function only works if you use Opera in both places. And since Chrome already has a tab sync feature, although it's harder to use, there's not much to gain. It seems that Chrome is even in the process of making its navigation bar scroll down.

This is just what Opera does now: throw ideas from time to time about what a browser might look like. Sometimes they are good, sometimes not. And it is not clear that they have had a real impact. For example, Opera launched an experimental browser called Neon last January, and as far as I know, it has not been updated in a year. But it was a clean experiment. And since Opera is no longer particularly competitive in the browser space, testing new interfaces seems a smart enough way to get attention.

Opera Touch is only available for Android at launch, but an iOS version is in process. Opera also plans to continue the development of its existing mobile browser.

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