Damn Norway. That smug little frozen Hobbitton is floating on oil money. It owns a $750 billion sovereign wealth fund and keeps buying up half-billion dollar chunks of Manhattan whenever it pleases. Norway has just 5 million people, but it forced other nations to name Friday after Freia, the Norse goddess of sex, just out of sheer Scandinavian lasciviousness. And now it has launched the best iPad browser ever, trumping all of Apple’s design and coding prowess.
The new browser is called Coast and it’s a dream. It ditches silly, ancient conventions like Back and Forward buttons. It also kills the web address box. Instead, it offers a couple of intuitive decks of website emblems as a way of navigating the web. As you begin typing a new address, you can see a selection of logos symbolizing the sites you might be trying to find. The symbols pop up, vanish and reshuffle as your typing progresses. It’s quite pointless and utterly captivating, much like Trondheim.
Just to show how intolerably with-it Norwegians are, Coast’s default deck consists of sites that are much more hip than places you actually visit — Who Killed Bambi?, Creattica, Juxtapoz and Monocle. This browser is an icy, futuristic sliver of awesomeness. Using it recreates that tiny shock you felt when you tried out the iPad for the first time or ordered a small glass of orange juice in Norway only to discover it costs $27.
You can continue using Safari and getting flashbacks of Internet Explorer circa 2004. Or you can download Coast and feel like you are a sovereign fund manager eyeing the map of Manhattan, sipping a $27 glass of OJ in a Trondheim bistro.