For some reason, the Opera Mini Browser is now also a Messaging App

Opera, the Norwegian browser developer is announcing the launch of its new dedicated chat service Hype, built into mobile web browser Opera Mini. With the introduction of Hype in the Opera Mini browser, Opera says it is rethinking the concept of mobile browsers providing its users with what they describe as a personalised, engaging browsing experience that enables seamless surfing, sharing and communication – without compromising speed or driving increased data consumption.

Hype is launching first in Kenya as a pilot market, where starting today, users will be able to easily set up their Hype account and start chatting with secure end-to-end encryption. Opera might be looking to find more ways of engaging its users. Since 2018, the company says it has grown its user base in Africa by 40%.

“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 Opera Mini Kenya

“Hype was developed first and foremost with African consumers in mind. Today, 40% of the Kenyan population has access to smartphones, with younger generations dominating as 75% 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.”

According to the company, this is also the first time a major browser developer has collaborated with Kenyan artists. The messaging platform offers its users a series of stickers created by Kenyan artists Brian Omolo and Lulu Kitololo that “reflect everyday expressions unique to Kenyans“.

According to Opera, the 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. The company argues that 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. 

Opera has for a while now integrated messenger services to their PC browser. They says that over 80 Million users enjoy this integration on their browser with Messenger, Telegram, WhatsApp, Instagram and Twitter. So, perhaps the company believes uptake for Hype will be similar.

What are your thoughts on this? Would you be willing to sign up for a new messaging platform built into a browser?

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