Welcome to the seventh edition of Opera Bytes – my semi-regular column about all things Opera.
Opera got a makeover with Kestrel (v9.5). While the new skin was definitely better than the previous one and put Opera ahead of most of its competitors as far as looks was concerned, it did have a few kinks. In the previous edition of Opera Bytes I had reported that the famed designer Jon Hicks has joined Opera. Yesterday he unveiled a new snapshot (weekly build) of Opera that featured a tweaked skin. You can download the latest build of Opera featuring the new skin from the Desktop Team Blog.
The most noticeable improvement is the tab bar. It’s a little easier on the eyes, offers nice contrast and the active tab is immediately distinguishable. All the icons have also been updated. Most of the icons are an improvement (the strange green refresh button is gone). They seamlessly blend into the theme. However a few of them (like the Magic Wand button and Image View) are ambiguous. However the icons of all the special tabs (transfers, notes, history etc) are dark coloured. That makes distinguishing them from the cluster of open tabs quite hard. The idea solution would be to use a slightly different tab background colour for these special tabs. The status bar has gained some unnecessary weight and adds to the somewhat bulky appearance of the skin. However, the skin is still a work in progress. Some aspects like the Speed Dial aren’t yet complete. On the whole this update adds further polish to an already excellent skin.
Based on Jon’s interview during Opera’s Birthday Celebrations and Hick’s known dissatisfaction with Opera’s default icon, I would suggest that a refined icon is also on the cards.
Earlier this week Opera rolled out a significant update to it’s myOpera community. Several pages like Download Opera and Choose Opera were designed and tons of bugs fixed. Affiliate program made a comeback. Last time myOpera.com had an affiliate program they were giving away free Opera licenses as prizes. They would obviously have to come up with something else this time.
Recently Zdnet sat down with Opera’s CEO and had an extensive chat. He discussed in great detail the improvements in HTML 5 and the importance of standardisation of Widgets. The article revealed that Opera has the biggest active group in the W3C for the development of standards. This is even more significant when you consider that when compared to Microsoft, Mozilla, Google and Safari the resources available to Opera are quire limited. This again underlines Opera’s dedicated to web standards. According to Jon, the next revision of the HTML web language will make Adobe’s Flash technology largely redundant. Among other things he also discussed Opera’s Business model and how Opera makes money.
Jon also gave Arab Crunch a brief video interview. You can check that out here.
The other big news this month is related to the Antitrust complaint that Opera had registered against Microsoft in the European Union. Microsoft wanted to cancel hearing based on unavaibility of competent officials which EU rightly rejected. This again has created a war of words among various camps. You can find read Haavard’s analysis over here.
Yesterday Opera released April edition of its State of the Mobile Web Report. The report showed 140% growth in the number unique users globally since last year. Over the same timeframe Mobile Web in India grew by 40%. Top 5 websites in India were google.com, orkut.com, yahoo.com, gmail.com and wikipedia.org. The report also provided further proof of Nokia’s sheer dominance in the Indian market. Top 8 out of Top 10 handset’s in India were from Nokia. Check out the full report for more details.
That’s all I have now. But don’t forget to subscribe to my feed if you want to stay updated with the latest happenings in the world of Opera.