Opera Unveils New Browser for Windows

With Opera 7.20 for Windows, Opera is promising improved performance and supporting additional languages.

Opera Software ASA, one of the only commercial Web browser competitors to Microsoft Corp., rolled out its latest browser for Windows on Tuesday.

With Opera 7.20 for Windows, Opera is promising improved performance and support for additional languages. The release follows by almost a month a beta of the browser.

Performance improvements in the latest Windows version include faster Web page and user interface rendering and reformatting as well as faster JavaScript performance, officials said.

"With Opera 7.20 we again prove our determination to break new ground with every major release," said Opera CEO Jon S. von Tetzchner, in a statement.

Opera also is adding the 40-plus languages it already supports. The 7.20 version includes support for bidirectional languages, those such as Arabic and Hebrew, with a mixture of writing from left to right and from right to left.

The latest Windows browser is available at www.opera.com in either a free version with advertisements or without ads for $39.

In the ad-supported version, Opera is offering users a choice of ads in the 7.20 Windows release. Users can choose the traditional graphical ads or select the new text-based ads delivered by Google according to relevancy. Opera officials say the text-based ads are less intrusive for users.

Beyond the latest desktop browser, Opera is finding success in providing its browser for use in smart phones. That push helped Opera, a private company founded in 1994, to record last quarter its first profit since 1998—albeit it a small one, said Opera spokesman Pal A. Hvistendahl.

The company also has begun pushing its browser, combined with Linux, as an alternative to the Windows XP operating system for use in the emerging IP television market.