updated 07:30 pm EST, Tue December 6, 2011
New version promises better UI, faster access
Opera has released a milestone upgrade for the Windows version of its browser. Release 11.60 incorporates several enhancements to the user interface and improves performance (free, Windows). Key among these are a new email client, quicker access to favorite sites, improved Web compatibility, and faster, more secure connectivity.
The email client has been redesigned and sports a number of improvements. The layout is cleaner, the inbox is more intuitive and navigation is has been simplified. Messages can now be grouped and can be automatically managed.
The browser address field has also been revamped. Favorite sites can now be "starred" and added to the browser's Speed Dial feature for quicker access.
Opera 11.60 also has integrated a new HTML5 parsing algorithm. This offers better web compatibility by closing the gap between how it handles HTML5 with those of other browsers, such as Firefox or Internet Explorer.
A final major enhancement is new network coding when accessing secure pages. This provides smarter, more secure connections and speeds up the browser's performance when going to SSL sites.
The Opera browser was launched in 1995. It predates most of the major browser alternatives available over the years, including Mozilla, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. Although Opera doesn't have a large following, its users are loyal, especially among mobile users who find its web compression and fast load times valuable.