Opera 10 alpha: faster, more features, auto-updates


A faster web is heating up the ice in Oslo, Norway today. That’s where Opera is based and they just kicked out the alpha build of the Opera 10 browser. If you’re looking for a new, everyday browser, this isn’t for you due to the "alpha" tag. On the other hand, if you’re a sucker curious cat like me, you’ll hit the download page. Just don’t complain to me about performance as I’ve been kicking the tires and dealing with bugs my own self.

The biggest and likely most noticeable improvement is in the new Presto 2.2 rendering engine. Opera claims that it’s 30% faster, but it looks to be only 29.73% faster to me. OK, I didn’t actually measure it formally, but it does feels plenty peppy to me when compared to Firefox 3. Pages are rendering noticeably quicker, so alpha-tag or not, the performance looks extremely promising.

From an end-user feature perspective there’s some additional goodies worth a mention. Opera 10 gains in-line spell checking (w00t!) and Opera Mail enhancements like HTML composition support and configurable "remove after X days" for POP mail on the server. And in the "why did this take so long?" category, Opera 10 offers auto-updating of the browser when there’s a newer version available. Again, I wouldn’t recommend this as your full-time window to the web just yet, but it’s worth the early look. For a full list of the change Windows, Mac, and Linux change logs or for additional info on the features, check the Opera Desktop Team blog.