The Opera Browser will be rebuilding its mobile browsers using WebKit and a new interface that nearly entirely ditches the traditional browser buttons called Opera Ice, according to a leaked video acquired by Pocket-Lint.com.
Ice is not Opera's first dalliance with WebKit, as its current iOS offerings are also built with the WebKit engine. However, the current iOS Opera runs its server-side compression with Opera's Presto engine. It's not clear that that will continue with Ice, which apparently will debut at Mobile World Congress in February.
The video shows off Opera Ice, a browser that looks the same on Android and iOS, with an interface that gets rid of as much of the browser interface as possible. What it can't ditch, like the location bar, it has reimagined.
The browser appears to emphasize the current "Speed Dial" design, with what appear to be bookmarked or frequently visited sites represented by icons. Judging by the terminology used by Opera CEO Lars Boilesen, these are in fact meant to be Web apps.
Opera representative Falguni Bhuta said that Opera couldn't comment on Opera Ice.
Navigation within Ice happens with swipe gestures, not buttons. You can bookmark a site on the landing page by long-pressing on a site, and a search engine field lives at the top of the landing page. A home button of some sort sits at the bottom of the screen, to take you back to the landing page.
The video makes it clear that Ice is being designed for tablets and smartphones, but it's not clear whether Ice is an internal nickname for the project or the new browser's actual branding.
Boilesen also notes in the video that the browser comes with standard security features, but they're only apparent when they block you from visiting a malicious site.
An update is in the works for desktop Opera, as well, which will follow in March.
Innovation is nothing new for Opera, which has been around since 1994. This appears to be its most radical redesign of the browser yet.