Opera 12 'Wahoo' Beta Ships

Opera Software announced the release of the beta version of Opera 12 code-named Wahoo, the next release of the Opera desktop browser.

Opera Software has released the beta version of Opera 12, code-named Wahoo. Company officials said the latest entry in Opera€™s long line of desktop Web browsers is both €œsmarter and faster€ than its predecessors, with new themes support, improved plug-in handling and more.

Among the new features are 64-bit versions for Mac and Windows, support for the Do Not Track header, CSS3 animations and transitions, HTML5 drag and drop, support for Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS), and opt-in hardware acceleration and WebGL.

The new themes feature gives users an easy way to change the look of Opera to suit their tastes or mood. Users can change the look of the browser. To try a theme for Opera 12 beta, go here.

Opera 12 also has a new, separate process for plug-ins. Plug-ins are a leading cause of browser instability, so Opera provides its own process. This way, when a plug-in crashes, it will not take Opera down with it.

The new Opera browser also gains speed improvements with optimization of the network Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) code and smarter tab loading to accelerate start-up and shut-down times.

€œWoo-hoo! After months of hard work, we€™re nearing the finish line on Opera 12,€ Haakon Wium Lie, CTO of Opera Software, said in a statement. €œThere are so many new things to try. The paged media project has the potential to change the way browsers handle content, and camera support shows just how Web applications can compete with native apps. With so many new features, especially for developers, Opera 12 is a platform to build upon. We€™re excited to share it with the world and see what people can create.€

Opera 12 helps Web developers by supporting getUserMedia, an API that allows Web applications to use hardware like a computer€™s built-in Webcam. The new release also supports native pages in the browser via the Opera Reader project that has now been opened up as CSS3 Generated Content for Paged Media.

Opera also has improved security, upgrading its security badge to make it easier to understand the security and privacy policies of the sites users visit. Users can quickly see if a site is using your location information or wants to turn on its Webcam.

Other changes in Opera 12 include that the Opera extension platform becomes more powerful with the introduction of Windows and Tabs APIs that allow extensions to control the windows and tabs in the browser. And Opera 12 supports some new languages. The browser will come in Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Hebrew, thanks to new support and a remodeled interface for right-to-left scripts.

To have a go at Opera 12, click here.