Opera Software has completed its first release candidate of Opera 10, a browser that the company says has better performance, a Turbo mode for slow Internet connections, support for a variety of Web standards such as Web fonts, and improvements to the Opera Mail feature.
"Now, we are very close to releasing the best browser in Opera's long history," Jan Standal, Opera's vice president of desktop products, said in a statement. "We hope everyone who has helped us test our browser thus far will put the release candidate through its paces."
The new, which is used to run Web-based applications such as Google Docs, isn't done yet.
"It won't be ready for (Opera) 10 final, but rest assured that it will be impressive when it comes," spokesman Thomas Ford said. He said Opera won't comment on the timing of the new engine's release until it enters alpha testing.
Opera has been available for years as an alternative to the dominant Microsoft Internet Explorer, the second-ranked Firefox, and Apple's Safari. It was pushed into fifth place with the arrival of Google Chrome. The Opera browser often charts new territory, though. For example, its Speed Dial feature, which presents an array of Web site thumbnails when a person opens a new browser tab, was first introduced in 2007. A similar feature can now be found in Chrome and Safari, and Firefox may add something comparable.