Opera Software is currently working on the next version of the Opera web browser. Today Opera 12.00 Beta has been released by the Opera team which can provide interested users with a preview of the upcoming new features and changes of that new version of the browser.
If you have followed yesterday's news, you already know that Opera plans to retire both Opera Unite and Widgets, and that both features will be disabled by default in Opera 12.00 for new users. But that's just one of the many changes of Opera 12.00.
One of the biggest changes in Opera 12.00 are 64-bit versions of the browser for the Mac and Windows operating systems. As it stands now, those versions will be offered when the final version of the web browser launches. Opera 12 will also launch with out-of-process plugin support to improve the stability of the web browser, and lightweight themes support that can be used to change the basic appearance of the browser without restart. This is similar to Firefox's background themes option which provides a similar option.
These lightweight themes are maintained under Opera > Appearance, just like standard themes. You can click on the find more skins button there to load a selection of available themes, or delete themes that you have already installed in the browser.
Opera 12.00 ships with experimental hardware acceleration for WebGL contents. The opt-in feature needs to be enabled by the user before it becomes available. This is done by loading opera:config#Enable%20Hardware%20Acceleration and opera:config#Enable%20WebGL in the browser, and setting both values to 1. It is then necessary to save the new values and restart the browser to make use of hardware acceleration in Opera 12.
Opera engineers have added support for new technologies to the browser. A full list of new technologies is accessible here. It includes support for HTML5 drag and drop, CSS3 animations and transitions, or do not track.
Opera users will also notice faster startup times thanks to smarter tab-loading sequences, faster page loading, and other browsing experience related improvements.
Opera 12.00 beta is currently available at the Opera Next website. Here you also find additional information about the new features the browser ships with.
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