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Archive for December, 2004

Opera 8.0 Beta 1 Released

December 22, 2004 Comments off

Opera Software today released the much awaited beta version of its next browser for the Windows platform. Opera has yet to reveal the name of their newest browser version, but have named this release Opera 8.0 Beta 1.

This comes after the User Agent for this browser has been seen on various Newsgroups, not long ago.

“We were preparing for the 7.60 release, but as work progressed and we kept adding improvements and functionality, it became very evident that we now have a browser that is so powerful, secure, and easy to use that it exceeds the next logical version number and warrants a major release,” says Jon S. von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software.

The new version comes with an easier to install process and simplified UI to introduce users to Opera’s rich features. The RSS newsfeeds client has been given a more prominent place and increased usability, setting it apart as an advanced and easy-to-use RSS tool. A clickable RSS icon will appear in the address bar on sites that offer RSS feeds so you don’t have to look around for the link.

The new version of Opera also features voice technology. You can browse the Web using spoken commands, such as “Opera next link”, “Opera back”, or “Opera speak”. The latter command will make Opera read Web page content and e-mail messages to you aloud, adding usability as either a screen reader or advanced dictionary.

Another feature is the Fit-to-Window-Width technology that will adapt Web page content to fit the width of your window, which means you can have multiple windows open with no horizontal scrolling. In combination with Opera’s Zoom feature, you can dramatically magnify Web pages and still view them without having to scroll sideways — a compelling accessibility tool for visually impaired users. This technology may also be applied to printing Web pages with Fit-to-Page-Width.

In addition, the new Opera browser comes with an update check function to ensure that you will always have the latest version for maximum protection and performance.

With all these new features, in addition to the old ones, Opera is still under 4 MB to save system resources.

The beta version of Opera’s newest browser is available as a free download. The final version of the browser is scheduled for release with its full name in early 2005. Users who have licensed versions of Opera 7 will receive free upgrades to the new version.

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Opera Releases Technical Preview Browser for Smartphone 2003

December 22, 2004 Comments off

Opera has released a technical preview (TP) of the Opera browser for Windows Mobile Smartphone 2003.

This is the first official technical preview for the Smartphone. A silent one was released on October 14, 2004. Though it was not officially announced, users responded enthusiastically with more than 43,000 downloads.

Opera 7.60 for Windows Mobile TP is based on Opera’s latest core technology, keeping Opera’s embedded deliveries in synch with desktop browser developments.

The preview includes Opera’s renowned SSR (Small-Screen Rendering) technology. SSR eliminates the need for horizontal scrolling to view a page.

The build has been tested on the following hardware: Orange SPV-E200, Qtek 8080, I-Mate SP2, Orange SPV-C500, T-Mobile SDA, Audiovox SMT-5600, Qtek 8010, and the I-mate SP3.

This release is only for the Smartphone 2003, it won’t work with the Smartphone 2002 or Pocket PC devices.

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Opera 8.0?

December 17, 2004 1 comment

One user on Opera Forums has posted about the interesting user agent found in an email that was sent by Rijk, a senior Opera Software Employee.

It had the following user agent:

User-Agent: Opera M2(BETA1)/8.00 (Win32, build 7384)

Note the user agent is 8.0 and not 7.6, the purported next release. Does this mean Opera wont be upgrading to Version 7.6 but rather to 8.0? After all the hype of firefox, releasing Opera 8.0 would definitely be a better PR plan. However, this would also mean that if you have a paid version of 7.X you would have to pay to get 8.X.

After a little research, I found that Rijk has posted a reply in response to a proposal to upgrade to Opera 8.0. Here is his reply:

But if such features are planned in June 2005 or December 2006 or whenever, does it really matter what the name is we give to major releases that contain important added features? It has been two years now since 7.0 was released.

The developers just keep working, sometimes on things especially for the desktop (customizable UI), sometimes spinoff from mobile/tv (ERA, resize your window after enabling Fit to width, or use print preview) or external contracts (Voice) or core browsing develoment (important parts of DOM3, which means Gmail can work). Technically speaking, the basic browsing core changed drastically in these ‘versions’: 2.0, 4.0, and 7.0. The UI changed drastically in 4.0, 6.0, 7.0 and 7.5. Support for major webtechnologies (Scripting, CSS, Unicode, DOM) reached new heights in 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 6.0, 7.0 and what you now test as 7.6 previews.

At a certain point, it is time to change the number before the dot. But if you look at supported features, you can’t distill a clear line on when a ‘major’ upgrade should be declared. The use of numbers gives a false sense of logic here, and I can appreciate that for example Microsoft has stopped using them to market Windows versions ten years ago.

One user on the forum pointed out that the build # in the user agent is 20 builds higher then the latest public build. Opera 7.60 Preview 4 is build # 7364.

UPDATE: Opera Watch has contacted Rijk for a comment, but declined, saying “I’m not an official spokesman for Opera Software ASA. We have a marketing and sales department for such things. I just test the browser :)”

(Thanks to Exclipy for the tip.)

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Using Google Suggest with Opera's Auto-Complete

December 13, 2004 1 comment

The new beta version of Google Suggest seems to work fine with Opera 7.5 and above. However, if you have you entered anything in the “Personal Information” (auto-complete) fields in Tools > Preferences, the up-down arrows will not select the Google Suggestions, rather it will look up the auto-complete fields.

One way around this problem is to hold down the ‘Shift’ key while using the arrow keys. This will override Opera’s auto-complete.

The issue with this solution is, the first selected suggestion will alternate between the 10 suggestions.

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AOL Creates Its Own Browsing Software

December 13, 2004 Comments off

AOL is creating its own standalone browser aimed at employees who cannot install AOL software at their workstations.

The browser will be based on Internet Explorer. Though AOL financed an organization behind a competing browser Firefox, Kerry Pearce-Parkins, director of AOL Product Management, said the company stuck with IE so users won’t have to make “a leap of faith.”

The browser will include AOL extensions such as tabbed browsing and AOL’s Media Player to access AOL’s premium content. Unlike tabbed browsing in the Opera and Firefox browsers, AOL’s will display a mini-version of the Web page, or thumbnail, as users scroll over a tab.

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Mozilla Targets Mobile Browser Market

December 8, 2004 1 comment

The Mozilla Foundation is working on a “Mini-Mozilla” browser for consumer devices, such as phones, PDAs and television set-top boxes. They have named it “MiniMo“, short for “MiniMozilla”.

Mozilla has just released their first technical preview, V0.1, which is based on a slimmed-down 1.7a Mozilla codebase.

Minimo’s main competitor in the mobile phone browsing market is Opera Mobile, which produces versions of its browser for various mobile phones including Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Panasonic and Siemens handsets. It has recently recorded its one millionth download of Opera Mobile from its corporate Web site. This number is in addition to the many more copies that are downloaded from partner and other download sites.

A spokeswoman for Opera said that Mozilla doesn’t have as much experience of developing for mobile platforms. “We have been working on mobile browsers for six years.”

There are currently two mobile phone manufacturers, according to Doug Turner, the project leader of Minimo, which they are working with. They are also in the process of creating a partnership with a TV manufacturer.

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Opera 7.6 Preview 4 Released

December 4, 2004 Comments off

Opera has released yet another preview of their browser for Windows and Unix/Linux.

Among the changes, they have added “Check for new release” to Help menu. In addition, the Windows release has been packaged in a rewritten installer. Please be on the lookout for problems with it. One problem with Opera Mail message display has already been identified. See this thread for information about fixing it.

In this preview, you can use an INI setting to change the default rendering mode to one of the ERA modes. See Junyor’s journal for instructions on these settings. For more details on the various modes you can use, read here.

Be sure to download it, test it, and write about it.

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