Opera Software has unveiled its latest project, “Opera Ice,” a WebKit-based mobile browser specifically designed for popular smartphone and tablet screen form factors.
In an internal video released on Friday (via Pocket-lint), Opera gave a brief look at a beta of the new app, which features an icon-based interface much like the optional homescreens seen on desktop versions of Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome browsers.
The developers of the app say it was designed to hide the clutter seen with modern browsers, including the URL bar, which can take up a piece of the limited area available on a mobile device screen. Opera’s “full touch browser” does away with buttons and menus in favor of a screen tap and gesture driven interface.
Opera has done away with its Presto rendering engine in its new product, instead basing Ice on the same WebKit engine used by Apple and Google in their browsers. The idea is to keep Opera viable in the fast-changing mobile market.
Opera mini, the company’s current mobile browser, won’t be replaced by Ice. Instead, said Opera CEO Lars Boilesen, the platform will be leveraged to generate users that will be migrated to new mobile apps.
Opera Ice is expected to hit the market sometime in February, while a new, as yet unannounced, desktop browser will debut in March.