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Opera Launches New Rendition

Opera Software said the latest version of its browser has so many new bells and whistles that developers decided to skip the traditional version release and opt for a full-scale launch.

"We were preparing for the 7.60 release, but as work progressed and we kept adding improvements and functionality, it became very evident that we now have a browser that is so powerful, secure and easy to use that it exceeds the next logical version number and warrants a major release," said Jon S. von Tetzchner, Opera CEO, in a statement.

The new version includes an updated and more prominent RSS tool that appears in the address bar on sites that offer feeds. New rendering technology was designed to adapt Web page content to fit the width of a window, allowing users to have multiple windows open with no horizontal scrolling.

Opera also includes voice technology that allows users to browse the Web using spoken commands, such as "Opera next link," "Opera back," or "Opera speak." The command will make Opera read Web page content and e-mail messages aloud, adding usability as either a screen reader or advanced dictionary.

Other functions include integrated search, tabbed browsing with saved sessions and built-in e-mail. And according to the company, Opera is tightly coded to optimize speed and security while browsing the Web.

"A browser is much more than what meets the eye," said Christen Krogh, vice president of engineering at Opera, in a statement. "To maximize speed, security and page handling, Opera's core and supporting code has undergone dramatic improvements based on the strict efficiency requirements brought in from the mobile phone market. In addition, the new Opera browser comes with an update check function to ensure that you will always have the latest version for maximum protection and performance."

The Norwegian-based browser maker would not disclose the latest version name when it released the beta Thursday, but said those who have licensed Opera 7 will receive free upgrades.