Software

Opera Touch is a dream Android browser for users who are always on the go

If you're looking for an Android web browser that makes on-the-go browsing simple, Jack Wallen thinks Opera Touch might be just the ticket.

If your life is hectic, you probably have become very familiar with using your Android smartphone with one hand. You're power-walking through the company campus, or down the sidewalk on your way to work or a meeting and you only have one hand to use to navigate with your mobile device. For some, that may not be a problem. For most, however, using the phone with one hand can be an exercise in clumsiness. So when Opera announced the release of their Opera Touch browser, one that could easily be used with one hand, my curiosity was certainly piqued. After using the browser for a while, I've discovered that Opera has hit that particular nail square on its head. Opera Touch makes one-handed usage not only possible for all, but easy.

Let's take a look at what the developers of Opera have done and why you should be using it.

Installation

First we must install Opera Touch. Because the browser is found in the Google Play Store, this process is incredibly simple. Here are the steps for a successful installation:

  1. Open up the Google Play Store on your Android device.
  2. Search for Opera Touch.
  3. Locate and tap the entry by Opera.
  4. Tap Install.
  5. Allow the installation to complete.

You should now see an icon for the new browser on your homescreen or your App Drawer. Tap the icon to launch the browser.

Usage

When you first open Opera Touch, you will immediately notice what the developers have done to make working with one hand a breeze. Out of the gate, there are three elements at the ready (Figure A):

  • Keyboard/search bar
  • Mic
  • QR Code/Barcode scanner

Figure A

Figure A

Opera's default screen.

If you have a QR or bar code to scan, tap the scanner button. If you want to use speech to text, tap the mic icon. If you want to enter a search string or URL, start typing. There's no need to navigate through a menu to start working with the browser.

That's not all. Say you fire up Opera and there's already a tab open. You'll find a menu button at the bottom of the window (Figure B). Tap that button and the scanner/mic/keyboard overlay will appear.

Figure B

Figure B

The menu button is at the ready to bring back the default elements for use.

Say you want to get to the Speed Dial screen (a feature that is on every Opera iteration). To do that, tap the X in the search bar and you're ready to make use of any one of your Speed Dial buttons to open a site.

Of course, if you make use of Opera Touch's Flow feature, you can tap the Flow tab to access all of your synced content. Or, tap the History button to view the sites you've visited. If there's a site in your history you want to return to, simply tap the listing and you're there.

Possibly the best laid out mobile browser

For those who frequently find themselves using their mobile devices with one hand, Opera Touch might well be the best laid out mobile browser for this purpose. Combine that with the Flow feature and Opera is seriously onto something. Give Opera Touch a go and see if it doesn't wind up your default Android browser.

Also See

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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