Hype will first be launched in Africa, where Opera (www.Opera.com) has nearly 150 million MAU, with Kenya as the pilot market; With Hype, Opera is reinventing the chat experience, with content sharing as a key feature; Opera Mini, with more than 100 million users worldwide, becomes the world’s first mobile browser with an integrated chat service.
Today, Opera, the Norwegian browser developer, announces the launch of its new dedicated chat service Hype, integrated with the Opera Mini mobile web browser. With the introduction of Hype in the Opera Mini browser, Opera is rethinking the concept of mobile browsers by providing its users with a personalized and engaging browsing experience that enables seamless browsing, chatting and content sharing, without compromising on speed or increase data consumption.
“Chat services and browsers are apps that people use every day and that feel very personal,” said Charles Hamel, Product Manager for Hype. “With the integration of Hype into Opera Mini, we’re not only rethinking what a chat service should look like in 2021, but we’re also changing the very definition of what a mobile browser should be.”
Hype is first launching in Kenya as a pilot market, where from today users will be able to easily set up their Hype account and start chatting with secure end-to-end encryption. This launch is one facet of Opera’s focus on investing and growing its digital ecosystem in Africa, with the goal of getting more people online; since 2018, Opera has grown its user base in Africa by 40%.
“Hype was developed primarily with African consumers in mind. Today, 40% of the Kenyan population has access to smartphones, the younger generations dominating since 75% of their 47 million inhabitants are under 30 years old, ”said Hamel. “With such early demographics at stake, there is huge potential for Hype to grow in Kenya. On top of that, we are also partnering with the country’s major telecom operators, providing free daily navigation to all Opera Mini users. We believe that the combination of these factors will lead to the rapid adoption of Hype in the country. “
The announcement follows a similar browser innovation from Opera, which was the first to integrate email services into their PC browsers, in 2019. Today, its more than 80 million users are benefiting from the integration. services such as Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Whatsapp, Instagram and Twitter.
Share content online in a snap
The way people communicate is constantly changing. Today, new generations are relying on new formats like memes and stickers to express themselves, often linked to pop culture references and internet content they find. To make this easier and more fun, Hype brings WebSnap, a feature previously known from the Opera desktop browser, which allows users to take snapshots from the web.
Once a websnap is captured, users can edit it by adding colors, text, and emojis, making it fun and entertaining before sharing it with others.
WebSnap also allows users to smoothly share the link to the original website they took their snaps from. This is convenient because users no longer need to copy links from websites and switch between apps to share the content they want.
Designed in collaboration with local artists
Hype is the first African-inspired chat service integrated into a mobile browser. It offers its users a series of stickers created by Kenyan artists Brian Omolo (https://bit.ly/3pIH1di) and Lulu kitololo (https://bit.ly/3aLq3ql). These unique collections of stickers reflect the everyday expressions used by Kenyans to provide users with a more engaging experience when communicating with others.
“We are extremely happy to celebrate African culture with Hype and we are very happy 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 true African art and pop culture into our products.
The current messaging services were established almost ten years ago, and none of them have ever focused on such a collaboration with local artists to make online conversations more engaging. This unique Hype offering sets itself apart from other chat services and allows Kenyans to express themselves more precisely when using chat apps.
Africa first: initial adoption begins in Kenya
Introducing Hype to Kenya is Part of Opera’s Africa first business strategy, adopted three years ago by the Norwegian company. This strategy consists of four main pillars: 1) Developing products with African consumers in mind; 2) Invest and develop Opera’s digital ecosystem in the African region to bring more people online; 3) Partnership with major global and regional companies; and 4) Employ and collaborate with African colleagues and stakeholders.
The latest population census (https://bit.ly/3aOWLax) in Kenya released in 2019 found the country to be very young. Of Kenya’s 47 million people, 75% are under 30, with children and adolescents making up 63% of the total population.
“Hype was developed primarily with African consumers in mind. Today 40% of the Kenyan population has access to smartphones, with younger generations becoming the first to adopt the technology, ”Hamel said. “With such a demographic, there is enormous potential for the growth of Hype in Kenya. In addition to this, we are also working in partnership with Safaricom and Airtel, the main operators in the country, offering free daily navigation to all Opera Mini users. We believe that the combination of these factors will lead to the rapid adoption of Hype in the country. “
In Q4-2020, Opera’s user base reached 380 million Monthly Active Users (“MAUs”) globally, with nearly 150 million UAs based in Africa. Since the announcement of Opera’s Africa First strategy in Q1-2018, Opera has increased its user base by 40% in the African region.
This rapid growth in the region gives Opera a unique position to evolve its digital ecosystem infrastructure and leverage its brand awareness and recognition. Opera is also giving more value to its users there by introducing new products and features that really meet the needs of its users locally.
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