PRODUCT REVIEW

Latest Opera Browser a Bit Off Key

Using the latest version of the Opera Web Browser (version 10.10) is like meeting up with an oldfriend and finding out he or she now has issues with the relationship.

Opera 10.10 has several impressive new features, but a few glitchesreally limit the usefulness of this version. In fact, the only way forme to continue using Opera was to reinstall an earlier version and forgothe new features.

Often when several functions that should work fail in a newsoftware version, the cause lies with the computer hardware’sconfiguration. But what are the chances for the same malfunction tooccur in five computers running a variety of Windows and Linuxoperating systems? On all of my computers, Opera 10.10 had the sameproblems.

Reinventing the Web

The Opera software was developed around support for open Webstandards plus a commitment to speed, performance and security. Operaofficials intended version 10.10 to be the jewel in their crown asking of the Web browsers. That jewel, however, might really be just asparkly Cubic Zirconia.

The company’s engineers developed Opera 10.10 with the One Web missionin mind. The goal was to create a universal Web experience on anydevice, anytime, anywhere, according to company officials. OperaSoftware is trying to redefine Web browsing for PCs, mobile phonesand other networked devices with its cross-platform Web browsertechnology.

The Opera Web browser in general is well-regarded. For instance, ithas some 45 million active desktop users, with millions more usingOpera on various types of other devices, including mobile phones, gameconsoles, TVs and portable media players.

The company saw 12.5 million downloads of the latest version the firstweek the new release was available. This download rate shatteredprevious Opera records and marked an increase of 25 percent whencompared to the download rates of Opera 10, launched two monthsearlier, according to Opera officials.

Two Problems

The new synchronization feature does not work — at least, not for me. Thisnew feature is supposed to check with the Opera server to synchronizefinal settings with those of other computers and mobile devices listedon my account. However, the browser never seems to connect with the server tosynchronize.

Opera servers report that my user name and password are not valid.There is no link to correct a log-in problem. Email attempts tocontact Opera customer service to help fix the registration problemfailed to get any response.

I could use Opera 10.10 despite this glitch. Eventually, I would getthat problem corrected or survive without using it. However, the otherbump I hit was far more serious. This version of Opera does not play wellwith the Comcast email service. Comcast is my ISP (Internet ServiceProvider), which uses the Zimbra application from Yahoo.com.

After logging on to my Comcast mail account, the ISP redirects the URLto a Zimbra address. This is where Opera 10.10 hangs. After confirmingthat the Opera 10.10 software settings allow Web site redirection andthat Java is enabled, I gave up. My personal creed for testing andpotentially using software is that it must work without jumpingthrough these kinds of hoops.

Otherwise Cool

It’s unfortunate that the latest browser release from Opera causesthese troubles. The other features would easily make Opera 10.10 a keybrowser contender. Version 10.10 includes several innovative featuresand a snazzy UI (user interface).

One of Opera 10.10’s most notable new features is Opera Unite. This isa personal Web server that gives users 10GB of cloud storage toeasily share content such as photos and files with all Opera-enableddevices. I suspect that other browsers will soon begin to offersimilar features.

Favorite Features

Opera Turbo boosts browsing speeds on slow connections or congestednetworks with Opera’s compression technology. An icon on the statusbar at the bottom of the browser window provides quick access to thesettings.

Visual Tabs is much like the Tabs Preview add-on available in theMozila.org’s Firefox browser. Hovering the mouse over a tab shows athumbnail image of that URL.

Mouse Gestures is a really cool feature. It provides a way to browsemore efficiently with small, quick mouse movements.

Cross Platform

Last month, to help the company reach its One Web mission, Opera Software releasedOpera Mobile 10 to operators and OEMs. This version runs onAndroid, BREW, Windows Mobile and Symbian/S60 smartphones and includesOpera’s new, cross-platform UI framework. The cross-platform UIframework allows operators and OEMs to implement the same userexperience quickly and cost-effectively across their entire range ofhandsets.

“Because no operator offers just one type of mobile phone, Opera hasdeveloped a new UI solution that can be deployed on multiple phonesand platforms. Due to its pure versatility, the cross-platform UIframework can be customized by Opera to meet brand requirements,” said Jon von Tetzchner, CEO of Opera Software.

2 Comments

  • The problem has been for a long time with Opera. It tries to throw too many features into it to attract users. I think all it does is create a bloated and confusing mess. I will never use it and although it used to be a refreshing option for a browser. Especially back when IE and even Firefox were malware targets. It just is not worth it anymore.Google’s Chrome browser is easily a better option and I would even consider Safari before Opera.

    • Really? Bloated and confusing?

      How can you claim that Opera is bloated when it’s a much smaller download than other browsers, and also uses less CPU and RAM?

      Confusing? It seems to look exactly like any other browser to me.

      Sounds like you are just trying to invent some nonsensical stories about Opera.

      Claiming that an application which is smaller and faster and at the same time does more is "bloated" is just crazy.

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