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Norwegian browser vendor Opera Software on Thursday released Opera 21 for Windows and Mac. Opera 21, the seventh iteration of the browser since it ditched the Presto browser engine in favor of the Chromium project, is the first stable build to pack the Aura hardware-accelerated graphics engine.
First introduced in Chrome OS in 2012, the Aura hardware-accelerated graphics engine, as Opera pointed out in a blog post Thursday, makes it possible to “hardware-accelerate the entire browser, including the user interface.” However, Aura is only limited to the Windows version of Opera, with the Mac version relying instead on Apple’s Core Animation technology for its hardware accelerated mojo.
“The team here put a lot of effort into getting Aura to work properly with Opera and the benefits are already paying off. Aura allows for smoother, snappier animations with a more responsive feel,” Opera said. “So far, we have only scratched the surface of this technology, and Opera 21’s primary intention was to get Aura working and stable. In the future, you will see further benefits as it allows us to give everything that little extra bit of polish!”
Another change that merits a mention here is the option to force Opera to show a page’s full URL. Although the company still considers the simplified URL field to be the “best option” for most users, it has added a “Show Always Full URL in Address Field” option under advanced settings with a view to appeasing advanced users.
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