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Opera reveals version 10 vision

Hot on the heels of version 9's release, the browser company gives a preview of its plans for the next incarnation.

Opera Software is making plans to steal market share from Microsoft.

Though a launch date for Opera 10 hasn't yet been set, Opera is hoping the updated application will lure users away from Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 by building on Opera 9's use of small Web applications called widgets.

Opera 9 was released June 20. It's intended to combat IE 7's release later this year, according to Opera.

"Opera 9 is the first salvo towards IE 7. We're trying to give a user-friendly experience and eliminate problems," said Thomas Ford, public relations manager for desktop Opera software.

The company expects version 10 to work on and across any platform, a continuation of its work to with different platforms, such as Nintendo DS game consoles, as a way of differentiating the browser from Microsoft's offering.

"We want to enable Opera 10 to work on any device--mobile, desktop, games consoles. We want to find ways to tie things in much better," Ford said. "That's something we do that Microsoft fundamentally can't."

The company also will develop more widgets--HTML and JavaScript Web applications that run outside the browser. Opera is aiming for a day when people needn't use a full desktop operating system, instead using a browser and Web applications for most tasks.

There is also a big push in the company toward creating developer tools.

"We will be unleashing developer tools, which are still in the planning stages," Ford said. "We want developers to use Opera as a Web development platform, using open standards. We need to keep the Web ready for open standards."

Opera also is hoping to take market share from IE 6, the most recent Microsoft browser, thanks to the security of the Opera architecture.

"People can wait for IE 7, or they can use Opera 9 if they want to be safe now," Ford said.

Opera 9 has already seen a significant uptake of users, with 700,000 downloads on the first day of release. Overall, Opera 9, including the mobile Mini version, has seen roughly 25 million downloads since its release in June, the company said.

Tom Espiner of ZDNet UK reported from London.