For all of its advancements in mobile, one of the great injustices is that Opera has been unable to gain any significant traction in the desktop market despite clocking up over 14 years making browsers. But this could be about to change...
Following on from the launch of Opera 10.5 Alpha in December, Opera has announced this hugely exciting browser has now reached beta stage. For those not in the know 'alpha' is generally considered developer-centric and too early for consumers to get involved, but anyone with some computer smarts can jump on a beta.
What makes it so exciting? In a word: speed. Whereas Opera had always been faster than Internet Explorer 7 and 8 (nothing isn't) it lagged behind Firefox and was positively smashed by Webkit based browsers Safari and Chrome. Not anymore.
Elsewhere you'll find a porn 'private' browsing mode, a smarter address bar (akin to Firefox's 'Awesome Bar'), support for custom searches and HTML5, full Windows Vista and 7 Aero Glass integration and Jump support in the latter. There is also compatibility with all Opera Widgets, which its die-hard fans will tell you have the usual array of third party add-ons beaten hands-down.
No release date been given for a final version of Opera 10.5 yet, but Opera did say Mac and Linux betas are "expected hard on the heels of the Windows release". Oh and one thing: surely calling it 'Opera 11' wouldn't be an oversell...?