Catching up with Thomas from Opera during SXSW this past weekend was enlightening in more ways than one. The team attended the conference to show off the new beta for Opera 11.10. There are a lot of enhancements to this iteration of the browser and a few new goodies you should enjoy.
The popular Speed Dial feature has been beefed up quite a lot. All of your favorite pages will now have much clearer previews. Dials can even show live content for websites. There isn’t a limit as to how many dials you can use. It’s so simple to adjust the Speed Dial view to make it fit YOU and your setup. Click the little + sign to add a new website and type the address or just choose from a long list of suggestions.
Edit the name, and you’ve totally owned that dial. Devs can optimize their Speed Dial thumbnails which lets you see what is happening on your favorite sites with one quick glance.
The design has been enhanced significantly. The graphics and UI offer a more sleek and modern look. Features are much easier to find and actually use. This new design is said to have the feel of a “finely tuned browsing machine.”
Version 11.10 supports CSS3 linear gradients and multiple columns. The browser shows webpages using the best standards in all of their relative glory. It’s also now much easier to install your favorite plugins, including ones like Adobe’s Flash Player. They’ll install quickly and automagically.
It’s quite interesting to watch the browser wars these days. With the recent release of Internet Explorer 9 – and tomorrow’s release of FireFox 4 – Opera doesn’t have much choice but to innovate. With all of the new-fangled features in each of these offerings, it leaves me wondering where there is to go next. Will they one day develop a browser that will simply know what we’re thinking and take us there? Could we finally expect a browser that loads pages literally instantly?
Where do you think browsers will be heading in the next few years? What more can we possibly expect to see that isn’t already being done? Most importantly, (for this post, anyways) does Opera have what it takes to maintain a large user base?