Opera releases version 7 of the ‘other’ browser

With numerous new twiddlies...

Opera Software yesterday unveiled the production version of its new browser, Opera 7, which represents a radical rewrite of the "other" browser. It includes a new rendering engine, a new UI, mail client, the usual standards-compliance checkmarks that make Opera announcements such compelling reading, plus some intriguing bells and whistles.

Opera has included mouse gestures for a while now, but 7 adds something the company calls Spatial Navigation, which comes out of Opera's iTV set-top box business unit. Opera for iTV allows users to use the arrow keys on their remotes to navigate, and the PC equivalent in 7 involves using the shift and arrow keys to do the same thing. Why would you want to do this? Well, in your living room of the not too distant future you'll possibly have some kind of combo TV/PC/Internet display you'll want to navigate while slumped in an armchair. Granted, you're far more likely to do this using a remote or similar than a keyboard, but Opera's pronbably not wrong if it anticipates that there are going to to be a lot more remote-aware PCs in the home, and that it's a good idea to include remote-like control systems as standard.

7 also includes Fast Forward, an outing for the predictive systems it's working on. With this, Opera attempts to detect the page you're going to want to visit next. Don't worry if this doesn't work for you - bear in mind the people it does work for are probably pretty dull and predictable.

Other stuff? There's lots listed here, but The Reg is particularly hopeful about support for multiple accounts (which'd be even more helpful if the Linux version of 7 was shipping, as there's a tendency to accidentally flush your saved windows if you log in as another user), improved UI and skinning (6 was starting to look a bit tired), the new email client, and better Java support.

In addition, there's a demo of what Small-Screen Rendering (Opera for mobile phones) will look like, but note that this is just what it looks like, not the technology itself. And in the wacky department, we have multiple style sheets, including a text browser and a Commodore 64 browser emulator. This strikes us as being even weirder than continued trickle-charge support for Opera for OS/2.

Available for free download in ad supported version, or $39 for registration and no ads, from Opera.com. Actually we kind of liked the Norwegian sweater knitwear ads, but we haven't seen these for a while... ®

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