In its continuing attempt to keep up with the Chromes and the Explorers of the world, to name a couple, Opera has just announced a new Android browser called the Opera Touch, which promises to deliver a one-handed Android experience like never before, with an iOS version also in the works.
As soon as you launch the browser on your Android device, you find yourself in the search mode with the keyboard ready and the address bar cursor blinking away furiously, demanding a URL or search input.
The inclusion of a Fast Action Button (FAB) at the bottom of the screen allows you to seamlessly switch between recently accessed tabs or start a new search by tapping on the Google icon, which pulls up the keyboard for you to type in your search criteria – all this using just one hand where your thumb does all the job.
“We have moved the browser’s key functions within your thumb’s reach,” said Opera product manager Maciej Kocemba at the launch. “This means that, unlike in most other browsers, you can more easily browse and search the web when on the move.”
Another impressive addition to the Opera Touch repertoire is what the company calls “Flow” – an end-to-end encrypted feature that makes it possible to send links, files, and notes to your PC or laptop, without the need to create a login or password, as is required on other browser synchronizing tools.
The only action required to access Flow is scanning the QR code displayed in the Opera browser on your computer with the Opera Touch on your Android.
Of course, this means that the latest Opera browser on your Windows, Mac, or Linux PC is an absolute must if you want to be able to use Flow.
Both the FAB and Flow sound like really cool features to have on an Android browser and may convince many into downloading the Opera Touch, but not too many people may be comfortable making the switch on their PCs, if browser usage stats are anything to go by.
While not having the Opera browser on your PC can’t stop you from using the Opera Touch on your Android, it will certainly render the tab syncing feature useless, which, come to think of it, is the main Opera Touch attraction.
And, just to remind you, Chrome already has the tab sync feature, which may be somewhat more complicated to use, but it’s not something that Chrome can’t correct to level the playing field. For all we know, Chrome may well be at it.
In addition to the Opera Touch for Android, Opera also announced an updated version of the Opera PC browser with an Instant Search feature that makes browsing and open tab searches so much quicker and easier.
You can access it by using the sidebar button, regardless of the page you may be on or by using the ALT + Space shortcut.
Additionally, the Opera Touch supports voice search, which is great to have, especially for those who hate typing on a mobile phone, the scribe included.
It also allows you to scan QR and barcodes – a rather handy feature to have, particularly, when you’re shopping and want a product’s feedback online before you commit yourself.
Here’s a quick summary of the key Opera Touch features
Instant search – the browser opens in the search mode, instantly ready for you to type in your search, scan a QR or barcode, or use voice search
Especially useful when on the move – To be able to easily navigate the web, seamlessly switch between recent tabs and quickly access search, all using just one hand, is something you will most appreciate when on the move and can’t afford the luxury of both hands.
Perfect pairing with your PC with “Flow” – If you have the latest version of the Opera browser on your computer and the Opera Touch on your Android smartphone you don’t need any login, passwords, or accounts to pair your mobile device with your computer. A QR code scan from PC to phone will do the job and then you can add images, links, videos, and notes to your Flow and access them from your PC.
Flow is fully encrypted.