Kenya first to access Opera’s new chat service
Norwegian browser developer Opera has announced the launch of its new dedicated chat service Hype, built into mobile web browser Opera Mini, in Kenya.
Hype has selected the East African country as a pilot market and local users can set up their Hype account and start chatting with secure end-to-end encryption.
The company says the 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.
It claims to have grown its user base in Africa by 40% since 2018.
“Chat services and browsers are apps people use every day and feel very personal about,” says 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 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,” says 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.”
Hype is the first African-inspired chat service built into a mobile browser, says Opera. 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.” adds 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.”
Opera underlines the WebSnap, a feature previously known from the Opera desktop browser, that allows users to take snapshots from the web.
“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,” the company explains.