Opera has launched a new dedicated chat service, built into the mobile web browser Opera Mini.
Dubbed Hype, the service is inbuilt in the Opera Mini browser, borrowing the concept of mobile browsers providing its users with a personalized, engaging browsing experience that enables seamless surfing, sharing, and communication – without compromising speed or driving increased data consumption.
“Chat services and browsers are apps people use every day and feel very personal about,” said Charles Hamel, Product Lead for Hype. “With the integration of Hype in Opera Mini, we are not only rethinking what a chat service should be like in 2021 but also changing the very definition of what a mobile browser should be.”
Hype is launching first in Kenya as a pilot market. Users will be able to easily set up their Hype account and start chatting with secure end-to-end encryption. This launch is a facet of Opera’s emphasis on investing and growing its digital ecosystem in Africa, with the goal of bringing more people online; since 2018, Opera has grown its user base in Africa by 40 per cent.
“Hype was developed first and foremost with African consumers in mind. Today, 40 per cent of the Kenyan population has access to smartphones, with younger generations dominating as 75 per cent of their 47 million inhabitants are under 30 years old,” said Hamel. “With such early adopter demographics at play, there is massive potential for the growth of Hype in Kenya. On top of that, we are also partnering with the leading telecommunication carriers in the country, offering free daily browsing to all Opera Mini users. We believe the combination of these factors will lead to the rapid adoption of Hype in the country.”
First major browser developer to collaborate with Kenyan artists
Hype is the first African-inspired chat service built into a mobile browser. It offers its users a series of stickers created by Kenyan artists Brian Omolo and Lulu Kitololo to create original sticker packs for Hype that reflect everyday expressions unique to Kenyans.
“We are extremely happy to celebrate African culture with Hype and we are very excited with the end result and the collaboration we had with Brian and Lulu,” said Hamel. “These unique stickers with original designs are something we are very proud of at Opera as we become the first major browser to integrate real African art and pop culture into our products.”
Current messaging services were created almost a decade ago, and none of these has ever focused on having such a collaboration with local artists to make online conversations more engaging. This unique offer from Hype stands out from other chat services and provides Kenyans the ability to express themselves more accurately when using chat apps.
This announcement follows similar browser innovation from Opera, which was the first to integrate messenger services as part of their PC browser, in 2019. Today, more than 80 million users enjoy the integration of services such as Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Whatsapp, Instagram, and Twitter.
Share internet content in a snap
The way people communicate is constantly evolving. Today, new generations are relying on new formats like memes and stickers to express themselves, often relating to pop culture references and internet content they find. To make this easier and fun, Hype brings WebSnap, a feature previously known from the Opera desktop browser, that allows users to take snapshots from the web.
Once a web snap is captured, users can edit it by adding colors, text, and emojis, making it fun and entertaining before sharing with others.
WebSnap also allows users to smoothly share the link of the original website from which they took their snaps. This comes in handy as users no longer need to copy links from websites and switch between apps to share the content they want.
Opera Mini is a leading mobile browser
Launched in 2006, Opera Mini is a small, fast, and powerful browser. It comes with unique features such as Data Compression, Offline File Sharing, and a built-in Ad-blocker. Opera Mini also enables access to free ebooks through the Worldreader speed dial, and the music catalog of the Kenyan music-streaming service, Mdundo, allowing users to stream or download music through the Opera Mini browser.
Today, Opera Mini is used by more than 100 million MAUs who chose it over the pre-installed browsers on Android mobile devices. Opera Mini has a 4.4-star rating on Google Play and has been reviewed by more than six million people worldwide.