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Opera Adopts Browser Rapid Release Cycles

The features in this next browser are not really blowing our socks off, but it is worth noting that Opera is now also embracing an accelerated product release cycle.

The version posted is a preview or alpha version of Opera 11.5. the big deal was, of course, the expected arrival of hardware acceleration, which was originally promised for Opera 11. However, we are told that the browser will not get hardware acceleration in 11.5 since the feature isn't done yet. Instead, the developer had some other features that were ready to be released and no one wanted to wait for hardware acceleration.

This strategy is very reminiscent of the accelerated browser release cycles at Mozilla and Google and we expect Opera now to release its browser versions much faster than before. Opera is in a slightly different position as Mozilla, which is closely following the Chrome release model, but has trouble attracting enough people to beta-test a new browser. Opera's market share is much smaller, around 2%, according to Net Applications, and it may be even tougher for Opera to go this direction.

The significant new feature in Opera 11.5 appears to be the addition of Speed Dial Extensions, which lets users display apps as speed dials. Opera can display apps such as weather reports or image collections, which enable a user to “collect” images viewed on the Internet in one place.