The wait for Opera fans is over. Opera Software has officially released Opera 10.5 Pre-Alpha. Couple of days back, an internal build of Opera 10.5 had been leaked. However, the official pre-alpha is a lot more stable and contains a few extra goodies. The big new features in Opera 10.5 are:
Opera 10.5 blew away Firefox and outperformed Safari by a fair margin, but Google Chrome still reigned supreme.
HTML5: Opera 10.5 uses an updated rendering engine( Presto 2.5.18). Presto 2.5 introduces a number of new features including support for CSS3 Transitions and HTML5 features like persistent storage.
Vega: Vega is Opera’s graphics library and was previously used only to render SVG. However, in Opera 10.5 all graphics is Opera is rendered using Vega. For now Vega is a highly optimized software rendering engine, but this move definitely does open up the possibility of using hardware acceleration in the future.
Better Platform Integration: As mentioned earlier, Opera 10.5 includes better Windows 7 integration including support for taskbar thumbnails and jump lists. However, there is good news for Mac users also. Opera has finally decided to utilise the Cocoa framework, as a result of which Opera now looks and feels like a native Mac app.
Private Browsing: Opera 10.5 not only introduces Private Browsing but also puts its own spin on it. Unlike in other browsers, you don’t need to open a separate window to enter private browsing mode. Opera supports per-tab private browsing. Whenever you use a private tab, Opera will not keep a record of pages opened in that tab.
Non-modal Dialogue Boxes: Dialogue boxes are no longer in your face. Instead they are displayed as page overlays.
Various UI Improvements: There are minor UI improvements all around. The cache viewer and find have been drastically improved while the address field and search field have been retouched.
Opera 10.5 is available for Windows and Mac users. There are some known issues including high memory usage. This build has major performance issues on older computers and it not recommended unless your processor supports SSE2. And finally, there is no UNIX build this time around.
Update: I went ahead and carried out a few more tests. Opera managed to beat Chrome in both Peacekeeper and Sunspider. So, it appears that Opera is now the fastest browser available.