Norwegian Opera Software has presented a preview of its coming browser with the same name. The new version will be called Opera Next, and the developer has as promised dumped the Presto engine in favor of the WebKit-based Chromium.
Opera is somewhat of a veteran in the browser industry, and the first version launched back in 1994 already. Until now it has used its own rendering engine, Presto, which has been tweaked and modernized over the years. In February Opera announced that it was planning to move away from Presto and instead implement the Webkit-based Chromium. The same project is base for Google’s commercial browser Chrome.
While the previous Presto-based version of the browser, 12.15, is still the latest sharp version at the company website there is a preview of version 15 available for download. Version 15 is called Opera Next, and has many similarities with Google Chrome.
With Next, Opera jumps on the Unibar train. That means the address bar and search bar is now one and the same bar; making the interface cleaner and more modern. The feature Discover is recognized from Android, and gives suggestions for articles, news and websites on various topics and regions that might be of interest.
Opera has also implemented what it calls Off-Road Mode; a technology that compress websites and downloads for better browsing when on low bandwidth. The feature Stash can save websites for offline access, which is recognized from the ”Reading list” in Apple Safari.
M2 becomes Opera Mail
There is more to it though than just new features. Opera has removed the mail feature, called M2, that was previously integrated into the browser. This will instead be released as a separate client called Opera Mail, which is also available as a preview.
In the near future the Chromium project will fork away from the Webkit rendering engine and become Blink, which Opera in turn will use with its browser.
Opera Next will soon replace the older version 12.15 at the Opera website, and more information on version 15 can be found here. So far there is support for Windows and OS X, more operating systems will come later on, and download links for Opera Next and Opera Mail can be found here.