Opera 9.5: Kestrel is Coming!

From the Opera desktopteam:
The last couple of months we’ve been working hard on the upcoming Opera 9.5 release, codename Kestrel. Opera 9.5 will contain many cool new features, improvement of existing features, and we fixed a lot of bugs. Within a few weeks we will publish 9.5 weeklies on this blog so everyone can start playing with it.

What’s new!
After the release of Opera 9 last year, we continued the development of Opera’s rendering engine for inclusion in the 9.5 release. As a result, Opera 9.5 contains more than a year of improvements on the rendering engine. This includes improved CSS3 support (text-shadow anyone ), superior SVG support and a brand new javascript engine with support for ECMAScript 4 ‘getters’ and ‘setters’. Apart from being the best standard compliant browser, Opera 9.5 will also display even more webpages with bad coding.

User Interface
Earlier we asked our users for feedback by enabling the usage statistics. Thanks to all the feedback that we got, we now know more about which features are most popular and which ones are used less. In the Opera 9.5 user interface we made several usability improvements that make the popular features easier to access, and more consistent with other browsers.

Accessibility
Opera’s zoom function has always been a very popular accessibility feature. Opera 9.5 takes a big step forward in accessibility by introducing screen reader support , improved keyboard navigation and more consistent keyboard shortcuts.

Platform integration
To make sure that Opera remains the best choice on your platform, we spend a lot of time making Opera feel more integrated with your platform. Mac users can expect a nice new visual look and feel. Opera for Linux will add a QT4 build, so you can easily adjust the skin to match with desktop. There will also be 64-bit Linux/FreeBSD packages made available.

Performance
If you like speed, we’ve got good news for you! Opera 9.5 will be much faster, both in benchmarks (and we don’t have to cheat ) and most important: on real web pages. The user interface will also feel snappier and more responsive, for example switching tabs is now a lot faster on UNIX.

And there is so much more! While we’re preparing the first weekly build for you, we will introduce you to more new features and changes in 9.5. Keep yourself updated!

I don’t know about you, but I for one am very excited!

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