Opera Drops Presto In Favor Of WebKit, Meet Their Latest Web Browser: Ice

By | January 21, 2013 | 28 Comments


Opera Drops Presto In Favor Of WebKit, Meet Their Latest Web Browser: IceAndroid and iOS only.

Now here is something you won’t see every single day. In an effort to stay relevant in the mobile space, it looks like Opera is open to all kinds of crazy ideas and one of them was just revealed. As learned by Pocket-lint, Norwegian browser maker has dropped their own rendering engine (codenamed Presto), which powers a wide range of products (Opera Mobile, Opera Desktop, Opera Mini, Opera Wii Browser and their TV Web Browser), in favor of WebKit, which since became a standard among developers.

Now, before everyone freaks out, they are not phasing out any of their current products (at least yet) and instead, a WebKit based web browser will launch as a separate product called “Opera Ice”.

So what is Ice? According to Opera’s CEO, it’s a reboot of your average web browser, it has no buttons, no menus, and all you see is content. Sounds familiar? That’s because it’s pretty much identical to Microsoft’s own vision seen in Windows Phone, Internet Explorer and Windows 8 style apps: focus on the content. Everything is gesture based and that’s what Opera is all about.

Why go this route? According to Opera’s CEO, “Opera mini is great, but it is not a fully-fledged offering like Chrome or Safari. There are too many sites it doesn’t work with.”

“We need to focus on getting strong products out on iOS and Android. These are the two leading platforms we will focus on… They are the ones phones are being sold for,” Lars Boilesen said.

If you can’t wait to get your hands on Ice, you will be happy to know that it’s coming as soon as next month.

Hopefully, they will drop Presto and replace it with WebKit on their desktop platform too, without sacrificing any of the current Opera features. One can only dream, eh?

[Thanks to everyone who sent this]


About (Author Profile)


Vygantas is a former web designer whose projects are used by companies such as AMD, NVIDIA and departed Westood Studios. Being passionate about software, Vygantas began his journalism career back in 2007 when he founded FavBrowser.com. Having said that, he is also an adrenaline junkie who enjoys good books, fitness activities and Forex trading.

  • http://twitter.com/Andylee_Sato Andylee_Sato

    I don’t think dropping presto is a good choice for the company or the web, but it will most likely result in a gain for the useres…. so why not?

    • http://twitter.com/FavBrowser FavBrowser

      It would certainly solve most/all of the compatibility issues, whihc is the main problem with Opera.

      I remember old argument was: we can’t drop Presto because it powers all our products, seeing that this might no longer be a case, one has to wonder what will they plan next.

      Not sure how I feel about WebKit engine “monopolizing” the web though.

      • http://twitter.com/paddy2k Paddy O’Reilly

        99.99% of issues Opera users experience are due to site owners locking them out based on Opera appearing in the useragent. Replacing the rendering engine won’t fix that.

        • jayjam

          But replacing the useragent would. Compared to switching the entire engine, changing just the useragent string wouldn’t even be trivial. It would be nothing.

          • Nathan Karras

            It is really easy to do this in Opera. Tell it to identify as Netscape, Internet Explorer or whatever and all the problems go away. I have run into very few rendering issues with it, fewer than IE, which isn’t saying much on one hand but is on the other..

      • http://twitter.com/bricky149 Shane Bundy

        As much as WebKit is a good engine, they’d be no better than Microsoft if it were to become the de-facto standard for everything because then nobody would know different. Different engines bring variety and they offer something different to the market, which would be made boring if WebKit takes over everything.

        • Nathan Karras

          Different engines also keep both engine developers and site authors following standards. If cross compatibility becomes less apparently important, standards compliance will drop significantly.

          • http://twitter.com/bricky149 Shane Bundy

            Different engines will have different bugs, so if everyone uses the same engine they won’t notice something’s implemented or done wrong until they compare it to another engine and fix their mistakes.

          • jayjam

            Except those web designers don’t give a damn and already design for engines instead of standards. See Webkit on mobile.

  • Kai

    I was even daring to switch from Opera because it has so many problems with a lot of sites and crashes ever so often, but I love the UI and how it worked, it’s customizability how the configuration is layouted, the red “O”, The way it dosen’t s´try to hide all the settings assuming you are stupid, an inbuilt Torrent client, an INBUILT EMAIL CLIENT, lots of easy accessible tools for developers and geeks like, userCSS userJavascript …
    And ofc the quick searches, and I know a lot of browsers have a lot of this stuff, but I must say in most cases it dosen’t feel nearly as native, I often have to install extensions and so forth.

    But if they would fix their rendering engine or, as this article implies, swap it, then everything would be perfect :3

    But I agree with FavBrowser in that I am also wary about everything using WebKit :/ Even if it is pretty good.

  • Federico Panico

    Any trustful source such as a press release from Opera or a comment from developers?

    None? Good try then.

    • http://twitter.com/FavBrowser FavBrowser

      A guy in the video is Opera’s Product Manager. If that was a false information, I am sure Opera would have already denied.

      • Federico Panico

        An Opera PM? And what’s his name? I could be one too. And why would they show it to some obscure news site instead of using their own developers blog at http://my.opera.com/desktopteam/blog/?

        And the most important thing: This news is coming from the same site that said that Facebook would buy Opera nearly a year ago: http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/45795/facebook-browser-opera-software-buyout

        • http://twitter.com/Kostadin Кostadin

          Federico, il su nome e’ Huib Kleinhout. One of the lead Devs. You can check his status ‘changing perspectives’ and work position: ‘can’t tell’ which weren’t the same a couple of days ago :)

      • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael

        Vygantas he doesn’t even say the word “WebKit” once in the video…

  • James

    Horrible news. I use Opera precisely because it is different. I detest the Webkit based browsers and Firefox has become slow imo. This is just another sign of Apple and Webkits’ strangle hold on the open web. Oh the dark days of the web are upon us.

    • http://twitter.com/bricky149 Shane Bundy

      I think they’re using WebKit on iOS because that’s the only engine allowed but if the desktop suffers from the easy route of switching to WebKit then I won’t be liking Opera for much longer.

      Don’t get me wrong as I like WebKit but there are too many WebKit browsers and Presto is actually a nice engine, even if it doesn’t support the latest and greatest specs or has stable HWA.

    • ntcongit

      Webkit is a open source project under LGPL and BSD license, why it’s a bad thing ?

      • apád anyád

        Mostly? Prefixes, prefixes, prefixes.

        • http://twitter.com/bricky149 Shane Bundy

          One reason I despise WebKit: the developers who only test in WebKit browsers. They only include the prefixes for WebKit and forget everyone else. Bad coding practice.

          • http://fitoschido.wordpress.com/ Fitoschido

            It does not make sense to despise something that is badly used. That is developers’ fault, not WebKit’s.

          • http://twitter.com/bricky149 Shane Bundy

            WebKit has many prefixes and quite a few web devs only use WebKit prefixes it seems. And as someone else said, some use WebKit-only prefixes and even forget the unprefixed properties.

          • apád anyád

            WebKit is also at fault here, to a certain extent. It hardly ever drops the prefixes, once something is implemented, and even if it starts using the prefix-less as default, it will keep supporting the prefixed code, and the result can be seen.

  • jayjam

    “Sounds familiar? That’s because it’s pretty much identical to Microsoft’s own vision seen in Windows Phone, Internet Explorer and Windows 8 style apps: focus on the content.”

    As if Microsoft came up with this first. This has been done before, many times. Giving Microsoft credit randomly like that is pretty weird.

    • Mark

      The writer here is the worlds only Windows Phone owner. Quite , lonely.

    • http://twitter.com/FavBrowser FavBrowser

      Any examples?

      I am not aware of any broad push to content oriented ecosystem / UI prior the Metro.

  • http://twitter.com/webtax web

    i don’t see how they are dropping presto as they are using webkit to be able to have a proper browser in iOS, they can’t do that with presto

  • Sasha K-S

    Say what you will, I have Chrome, FireFox, and Opera installed on my Galaxy 2, and Opera has become the favored browser to such an extent that I pinned it to the main launch bar…