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Opera 'cracks code' for tablet web-browsing with Coast for iPad

Opera has launched a version of its browser for iPad, dubbed Coast, that it says has "cracked the code" for how best to bring the browser to tablets.

"This is not a mere mobile browser tweak, nor a scaled-down PC browser. It is something new," Opera said in a statement.

The Safari team might disagree, but Opera boasted that Coast is "so elegant, intuitive and refined that it should have come with the iPad."

To achieve this, Coast does away with the back and forward buttons, as well as other commands that normally line the top of a standard web browser, like the URL field. "The iPad is nearly buttonless; why shouldn't the apps for it be?" Opera argued.

To navigate the web, just swipe. "A single button takes you to the home screen, and another shows the sites you have recently visited – that's about it for buttons in Coast," Opera said.

Ultimately, it's about making the design interesting and uncluttered, according to the firm.

On the security front, Opera said all issues are handled in the background, but Coast will provide "can't-miss warnings when a suspicious site is accessed and extensive info on site reputation."

"Websites and apps today invite you to interact in new ways, but browser design for tablets has not pushed to liberate itself from the influence it has experienced from its computer and mobile phone cousins," Huib Kleinhout, head of the Coast project at Opera Software, said in a statement. "On a tablet, browsers felt outdated, and that bothered me. Why? Because we make browsers for a living. We're passionate about making the Internet better."

Opera already offers Opera Mini 7 for iPad, but it isn't a real browser. In fact, it doesn't load web pages at all. It's a proxy browser, which means pages are loaded and compressed at Opera's servers, and a lighter, lower-quality static version is sent to your device.

Similarly, Google Chrome for iPad is not the full version of the search giant's browser, but there's a Chrome-like interface and the ability to sync with your other Chrome installations.

Coast by Opera is available as a free download in the App Store now.