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Opera Coast is ready to impress you... and then be forgotten

opera coast

Do you remember Yahoo Axis? It was an iOS Web browser that it seemed as though everyone thought it was the second coming of the mobile Web. It was called "impressive," "surprisingly fresh," and "one of the best Web browsers," only to be unceremoniously killed off after everyone forgot about it. Well, get ready for round two, because Opera Coast is about to pull the exact same stunt.

This morning the blogosphere and social media are peppered with opinions that Coast has done something with mobile Web that has never been done before. The gimmick here is that Web pages are arranged on the Coast home screen as though they were apps. You can create these icons based on pages you visit often, but these eye-catching buttons are really nothing more than bookmarks in practice.

There's also no real URL bar, so don't expect to type in a link as you might on Safari or Chrome for iOS. Instead, there's a search feature that does its best to provide the results you're looking for. Type in "TUAW" and an icon with our site's logo pops up. Click it to travel to the site, which pops up in its own window. Recently visited sites are organized in a stack on the home screen, and sites can be scrolled through using touch gestures, as you might click through your various browser tabs.

In short it's more complex under the guise of simplicity. Instead of tabs you have pages, and instead of bookmarks you have icons. There's nothing here that makes it any better or worse than the existing crop of Web browsers on your iPhone, except for the fact that it's "new."

"Browsers have been the same way for 20 years and their conventions get in the way," reads the passive-aggressive App Store description for Opera Coast, and that much is true. Is there a better way to browse the Web than what we currently have? Perhaps, but Coast isn't it. It's simply the same Web in a slightly different wrapper.

If you feel like your web browser needs a wallpaper -- which is perhaps the one thing that Coast offers that hasn't been done before -- it might be your new favorite app. But for the vast majority who download it, the return to Safari or Chrome will be expeditious.

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