In a sea of a heated browser battle, the ray-finned fish with sharp teeth makes its arrival. It's Opera 11.10, code-named "Barracuda," and it's now available for download at opera.com - complete with a rather quirky marketing video to boot. The release follows Opera's typical accelerated release cycle, this time consisting of four release candidates and a single public beta.
So what has changed since the last stable version, Opera 11.01? The most visible change is the new Speed Dial 2.0. The dials sport a new visual design, with a more opaque background that fits in very well with any wallpaper, light or dark. The dials are no longer constrained to a set number of rows and columns. You can have as many dials as you like; the page will scroll as needed. You can specify a set number of columns if you wish, and also the size of the dials. The thumbnail resizing mechanism for the Speed Dials has been improved - you can zoom in up to 200% and see almost the entire page with crisp text. For some sites, they will default to an iOS-style icon - Neowin is an example. There is an easy workaround, which is demonstrated in our video review below. In addition, sites can specify how their sites look like in Speed Dial.
The user interface has received a few tweaks. Popup windows created by extensions, the tab cycler, and Speed Dial's configure dialog sport a new look. There are slight 'hints' in the UI to point out three of Opera's features - a bar appears at the bottom reminding you of the "fast-forward" shortcut of SPACEBAR, text appears in the address bar reminding you that you can easily search for a query as you would in say Chrome's omnibar, and the Trash bin lights up when a tab is closed.
Smaller changes make their debut. The browser now searches for missing plugins and offers to install them for you. Opera now uses less power while on battery by not changing the system timer resolution - as you may recall, we noted two weeks ago that Opera used the most power amongst its competitors. Opera now also supports Google's WebP and several emerging web standards, including CSS3 gradients and the W3C Web Open Font Format. And finally, some miscellaneous tweaks include better Gmail IMAP support in the built-in Mail client, and a new search suggestion page that appears for misspelled URLs.
Our fellow News Reporter, Tom, takes a look at some of Opera 11.10's new features in this video review: