File Under: Browsers

Opera 10.6: WebM Video, HTML5 and More Speed

Opera is faster than a potato and getting even faster. Opera has released a new build of the coming Opera 10.6, with more support for various HTML5 elements, bug fixes and speed improvements.

Currently Opera 10.6 is still in the experimental stage so you may experience some hiccups, but if you’d like to test the new features you can download 10.6 from the Opera site.

The big news in this release are the new HTML5 features. Opera 10.6 adds support for web workers, the geolocation API, the offline API and improved support for the Cross-Document Messaging spec.

Opera 10.6 also joins experimental builds of Firefox and Chrome in supporting the new WebM video format. WebM is a set of codecs (coder-decoders) for browsers to use to play video and audio content embedded on HTML5 web pages without the use of plug-ins. Unlike H.264, a competing codec, WebM is royalty-free and is now supported by all major web browsers except Apple’s Safari.

Of course the new HTML5 features in Opera 10.6 are still works in progress. There are bugs. For example, while Opera’s WebM video demo worked just fine in our testing, some WebM videos on YouTube would pause when we right-clicked the page. But the audio didn’t pause, which caused syncing problems. Look for the bugs to be worked out as Opera 10.6 progresses toward a final release.

As for speed, well, Opera’s Carakan rendering engine and the new Vega graphics engine in Opera 10.5 put it neck and neck Google Chrome in our informal tests. This time around we tested Opera 10.6 against Chrome 6 (a developer channel release) and found that the difference is slight, but Opera feels marginally faster (when the Opera 10.6 alpha was released Download Squad found Opera handily beating Chrome 6 in benchmark tests).

So far there’s no release date for the final version of Opera 10.6, but if you’d like to test the latest and greatest Norway has to offer, head on over the download page.

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