Browser development from the major vendors continues apace. Yesterday saw the release of the Opera 10 beta. This new version of Opera is interesting for a few reasons, not least of which is a brand-new (and much improved) interface designed by the talented Jon Hicks. Opera Software prides itself on the standards-compliance of its browser, so you’d expect the new version to be good in this department. Indeed, the new version gets a perfect 100 on the Acid3 tests (compared with 93 for Firefox 3.5 beta 4, and a paltry12 for IE 8). The beta supports goodies like web fonts (check out Aliza’s interview with Opera CTO Håkon Wium Lie for a demo), has integrated email and chat, visual tabs, and a new “Opera Turbo” mode with compression technology that should improve performance when stuck on slow and laggy connections.
Opera has many fans, but it’s still very much a niche browser. Just 1.5 percent of the readers of this blog use it, according to Google Analytics. For comparison, even though it’s still fairly new, Chrome is used by 7.5 percent of WWD readers. Even with improved performance, a new design and some interesting features, I’m not sure that this new version will change that usage statistic very much. While it’s great to see Opera championing standards compliance and introducing novel features to keep the other vendors on their toes, this new version of the browser won’t tempt me away from my current favorites: Chrome 2 and Firefox 3.5 beta 4.
Opera 10 beta is free to download, and available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Let us know your thoughts on Opera 10 beta in the comments.