I couldn’t blog about this earlier as I was out of station during the past week. Opera released the much awaited beta build of Peregrine (v10) last week. The much hyped, secret new feature turned out to be something called Visual Tabs.
Opera has always been a step or two ahead of its competitors as far as implementation of tabbed browsing is concerned, and this latest innovation keeps up the tradition. I remember trying an extension called Tab Sidebar for Firefox earlier. While it was an interesting option I didn’t like having to scrol sideways to access a tab. Nevertheless it did improve Firefox’s default browsing experience. I was interested in finding out if Visual Tabs would do the same for Opera.
I have been using Opera’s implementation of Visual Tabs for the last two days and count me impressed. What a difference small implementation details can make. To enable Visual Tabs all you need to do is drag the tab-bar downwards. You can adjust the height of the thumbnails according to your taste. What I love about visual tabs is that it keeps the traditional aspects of Opera’s tabbed browsing intact – it automatically reduces the width of each tab as the number of tabs increases, gets rid of the close button when tab width is reduced below a certain threshold an so on.
The other big change is the speeddial. Opera has listened to their users and have added two much requested features to the speeddial. You can now adjust the number of speeddials as well as set any image as background for the speeddial.
If you are upgrading from the alpha build other big changes you would notice are Opera Turbo, a refreshed skin and re-sizable search box. The beta build contains dozens of other minute changes including a significantly improved HTML/CSS rendering speed. Full changelog is available here.
Earlier this week Opera also released beta build of Opera Mobile 9.7. This update brings the revolutionary Turbo to Opera Mobile. This release also bumps up the rendering engine to Presto 2.2. This This is what Opera’s CEO Jon von Tetzchner had to say about this release :
There are other mobile browsers on the market that claim to be faster and more Web site-compatible on Windows-based phones, but I challenge users to take Opera Mobile for a test drive and discover a new standard for speed and compatibility. Opera Mobile 9.7 leaves other “sluggish” and “painfully slow” browsers in the dust