Since their earliest inceptions, smartphones gradually got bigger and bigger. Standard smartphone screen sizes these days rock in at between 4.5–5 inches, compared to the 3.5-inch screen of the original iPhone. XL models, which are growing in popularity, push screen size even further as they creep towards the seven inches that used to be the exclusive domain of smaller tablets.
The bigger screens make it easier to get more done and they make playing games and watching videos a much more enjoyable experience. They can be harder to use, though, and any serious attempt to take advantage of all the space offered by these plus size touchscreens requires two hands. Opera wants to address this, and its latest browser, Opera Touch, aims to put the power of the web into just one of your hands.
Opera Touch starts in Searching Mode, so you don’t have to click the URL address bar or the Google search bar at the top of the screen. You’re ready to search as soon as you open Opera Touch. The main innovation of Opera Touch, however, is what Opera is calling the “Fast Action Button” or FAB for short. True to its name, the FAB puts all of the controls you use most when browsing the web within reach of your thumb.
The FAB is always present in the center of the web page at the bottom of the browser. When you hold the button, it’ll give the option to open tabs, switch between tabs, or to close them. All you have to do is swipe across to the desired option with your thumb and then start browsing. The FAB also gives easy access to Google search if you want to perform more than one search per browsing session. Rather than holding your thumb on the FAB, a simple click will bring up your keyboard and the search bar.
In a move to get people downloading the desktop version of its browser, Opera has also introduced a new Flow feature. If you have Opera installed on both your mobile and desktop, Opera claims you’ll be able to work seamlessly across both devices:
“You can now add images, links, videos and notes to yourself to your Flow and the other device will immediately see them. You can access them on your other device and the good part is that the Flow is encrypted, private and kept to yourself.”
Activating Opera Flow is similar to activating WhatsApp Web. You simply scan a QR code presented on the desktop version of Opera using the scanner on Opera Touch. Then you can slip from mobile to desktop and take whatever you were working on with you.
Opera Touch is available now on Android and will be available on iOS soon.