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Opera 8.0 Beta 1 Released

December 22, 2004

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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