Opera 10.50 pre-alpha arrives on the 22nd of December

Mark your calendars, as the vikings from the north of Europe are really on to it. You would have thought they would be playing with snow balls, snow men and other frozen water stuff. But apparently the weirdos at Opera Software like to stay indoors.

Opera 10 pre-alpha

While Opera 10.20 may be in Alpha phase, the next next version is almost at our doorsteps, Opera 10.50 pre-alpha (code name: Evenes). Although Opera Software hasn't made any official statements yet on what's really new in this release, they did say one thing: speed.

So, if we look at Opera 10.10, what's the first thing that it misses compared to other browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox and Safari in speed? Yup, the most logical answer would be JavaScript execution speed. Opera 10.50 is more than likely to contain Carakan, the newly developed JavaScript engine. Hopefully it will be comparable in performance to Nitro (Safari) and V8 (Chrome). Another likely change in the traditional semi-major release (we've had dot-five releases that made impact for a while now, such as 7.5, 9.5) is an updated rendering engine. Who knows it may support even more (future) standards and performance enhancements.

What I don't expect is that Opera 10.50 suddenly changed to a multi-process architecture, similar to Chrome. Although it increases stability (and security) it also has a severe impact on memory usage, and should not be taken lightly (although memory is cheap these days). Looking at Safari 4 on Snow Leopard, which isolates plug-ins from the web browser, this may actually be the best, quick way to go to increase stability (read: Flash stability).

All in all it seems Opera Software is increasing its development and may pack a punch against Firefox and Chrome in the near future.

Note: There is a leaked build circulating, which was never intended for public release. It may not contain all the features (Carakan?) and fixes (show stoppers) of the real pre-alpha release. As we do not support leaks (they are illegal and may contain trojans), we ask the same of you, please do not link to them and be a little more patient.

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