Opera today released the first beta of Opera 10, the newest version of the company?s Web browser, promising faster downloads, new design and new features.
Opera 10 features Opera Turbo, a new compression technology that unclogs the internet connection so users can get to their content broadband-like speeds on dial-up.
The new browser has benn also redesigned by the world-renowned designer Jon Hicks.
"Initially, we were just going to clean-up some elements and focus on the interface for new features," said Jon Hicks. "But, over time, the new user interface elements became so different that we decided to update everything. Mac users in particular should enjoy this update to the default Opera skin." The new skin is a work in progress and will continue to evolve before the final release of Opera 10.
Opera's tab bar is now resizeable, but with a twist. Pull down the tab bar (or double-click the handle) to reveal full thumbnails of all your open tabs.
Speed Dial has been a favorite of Opera fans since its introduction, and now users can personalize it. Have a large monitor? Super-size your Speed Dial with a 5x5 grid. Want to see your family or friends in every new tab? Add their smiling faces as a background image.
Opera comes standard with an e-mail client, newsfeed readers and BitTorrent support within the browser. In Opera 10, users can now choose to use a variety of Web-mail providers, online feed readers or other BitTorrent clients as their default choice.
Even without Opera Turbo, Opera 10 is now much faster on resource intensive pages such as Gmail and Facebook and is more than 40% faster than Opera 9.6, the company claims. Web developers can enjoy Web Fonts support, RGBA/HSLA color and new SVG improvements.
Web developers can also take advantage of the new features in Opera Dragonfly, Opera's set of on-board Web development tools. Opera Dragonfly alpha 3 now allows developers to edit the DOM and inspect HTTP headers and comes in more than 36 languages.
Opera 10 beta also improves upon existing features in the Opera 10 alpha. The inline spell-checker now supports 51 languages, using the popular open source Hunspell dictionary format. Opera 10 beta also updates automatically, although users can choose to allow completely automatic updates or to be notified when an update is ready to install.
The e-mail client is also improved with rich text editing including inline images, styled text, links, and full HTML. Users can also have Opera automatically delete e-mails from their POP server after a specified amount of time to keep their inbox nice and neat.
The new OIpera 10 Beta is free for Windows, Mac and Linux at http://www.opera.com/next/.