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Opera’s new dedicated chat service, Hype, is built into the Opera Mini browser and introduces original sticker packs that reflect everyday expressions unique to Kenyans.

Opera, the Norwegian browser developer recently announced the launch of its new dedicated chat service Hype. With the introduction of Hype in the Opera Mini browser, Opera is rethinking 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 where 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%.

“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.”

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 announcement follows similar browser innovation from Opera, which was the first to integrate messenger services as part of their PC browser, in 2019. Today, its more than 80 million users enjoy the integration of services such as Facebook messenger, Telegram, Whatsapp, Instagram and Twitter.  

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