Opera has released a pre-alpha version of its Opera 10.5 browser for testers.
According to Opera officials, the pre-alpha technology is based on the Evenes branch of the Opera browser software and includes Windows and Mac builds, with a UNIX/Linux version coming later.
In a post about the new release, Roberto Mateu, a product analyst at Opera, said Opera doe not typically release software for user testing so early in the development cycle, but the company was so "excited" about this release that Opera decided to show it off.
Opera 10.5 also features version 2.5 of Opera's Presto layout engine, which includes a number of improvements as well as support for CSS3 transitions and transforms, and more HTML5 features like persistent storage. Opera 10.5 also contains Opera's new Vega graphics library.
Regarding Opera 10.5 and platform integration, Mateu said:
"??Ã On Windows 7/Vista, you will notice a lot of visual changes and use of APIs which allow the UI to display the Aero Glass effect. For Windows 7, we also added Aero Peek and Jump List support to easily access your Speed Dials, Tabs, etc. from the Taskbar.??Ã For Mac, a complete rewrite in Cocoa brings a Unified Toolbar, native buttons and scrollbars, multi-touch gestures (try 3-Finger Swipe Left/Right or Pinch to zoom) and a bunch of other small details. We also added Growl notification support."
Meanwhile, Mateu also warned that the Opera 10.5 pre-alpha "is a feature-incomplete and likely unstable development build. Please handle with care, backup your data before you install and do not run in hydroelectric power plants."
Indeed, among the specific known issues with this release, Mateu listed: High memory usage; No JIT (slow performance) on old processors without Streaming SIMD Extensions 2 (SSE2); and No printing for Mac build.
Meanwhile, on the mobile front, Opera officials said Opera Mini has garnered more than 41.7 million users worldwide showing a 5.3 percent increase compared to the previous month, according to the company's State of the Mobile Web report for November 2009. The number of page views in November 2009 went up 9.5 percent and data consumption increased 8.3 percent compared to the previous month. And, in Africa, Facebook has taken a strong lead and ranks as the most popular site in six out of the top 10 countries.
The top 10 countries for Opera Mini usage, in order, are: Russia, Indonesia, India, China, Ukraine, South Africa, United States, United Kingdom, Vietnam and Poland.
"It is heartening to know that Opera Mini continues to grow consistently in all regions and categories - specially in continents like Africa where mobile phones are more likely the only way for people to access the Web," said Jon von Tetzchner, CEO of Opera, in a statement. "At Opera, we are striving to bring the most innovative and affordable way for people to access the mobile Web and expect 2010 will prove just as successful for us as the case has been in previous years."