In an official blog post earlier this morning, the Opera team announced it has released its Opera Mobile 10 Beta 2 browser for both Symbian/S60 and Windows Mobile smartphones. According to the announcement, the use of a new cross-platform UI framework enabled the developers to port the same features and browsing experience to both platforms.
There are a bunch of new features in the latest browser release, including a more intuitive interface, faster browsing with page loads up to 50 percent snappier than with pervious versions, Speed Dial, which allows users to visit favorite websites with a single click, and tabbed browsing.
There are some known issues on both platforms to be aware of. Some of these include only partial IME (Input Method Editor) support (S60), persistent soft keyboard display even when the hard keyboard is out and in use (S60), no plug-in support (S60 and WinMo), certain HTC devices with TouchFLO will force opera back to portrait mode if visiting the home screen when Opera is in landscape (WinMo), and lack of support for non-touch devices (WinMo).
If you're a true geek, then you love experimenting with and comparing all the different Web browsers on the market today. You might have a default browser of choice for rendering most Web pages, but you still keep a number of other browsers available for their usefulness, their speed, or their compatibility in synchronizing to devices you already own (cough the iPhone cough). It's fun to surf the net in different ways. And, depending on the Web site, you might also need to have other options on hand in case a site fails to work in one rendering engine.
So how, then, do you toggle between these browsers? Sure, you could assign each to your right-click context menu and scroll through the "open with..." choices each time you need to switch to a new app. That's kind of ugly and tedious, don't you think? A fun little application called Browser Chooser improves this process by giving you a pretty little GUI for selecting your browser of choice whenever you want to pull up a page. It's a lightweight utility that's as easy to configure as it is to use, giving you the flexibility to pull up a number of different rendering engines at the touch of a button.
All extensions will have to pass through a fully automated review process, except for those extensions “that include an NPAPI component and all content scripts that affect "file://" URLs.” Extensions beyond the scope of the automated review process will be vetted manually. Developers can supplement their extensions with explanatory text, screenshots and/or YouTube videos.
“During the last few months, our team has been working hard to support extensions in Google Chrome's beta channel. Today, we are getting one step closer to this goal; developers can now upload their extensions to Google Chrome's extension gallery. We are making the upload flow available early to make sure that developers have the time to publish their extensions ahead of our full launch,” programmer Lei Zheng wrote on the Chromium blog.
Is your ultraportable overheating while surfing the web? As odd as it sounds, the culprit could be Firefox rather than a hardware issue. No, really, check out what one of Mozilla's support pages has to say on the matter.
"At times, Firefox may require significant CPU resources in order to download, process, and display web content," Mozilla states in a document titled "Firefox consumes a lot of CPU resources."
As CNet notes, this is a real problem that users are reporting, such as this Dell Mini9 owner. So what's the solution? Short of switching to a different browser, Mozilla recommends downloading and installing the latest version of the Flash plugin, which might help with Flash heavy sites like YouTube, and installing Flashblock, which allows end-users to selectively enable and disable Flash content.
Depending on when and where the high CPU usage kicks in, Mozilla also recommends updating the Adobe Reader plugin, configuring Firefox to open PDF documents outside of Firefox, and installing NoScript.
Have you noticed any unusual CPU activitiy or overheating woes while running Firefox? Hit the jump and let us know.
Internet Explorer users who have yet to upgrade to IE8 should take note. According to security firm Symantec, there's a pretty nasty Zero Day exploit that affects both IE6 and IE7.
"The exploit currently exhibits signs of poor reliability, but we expect that a fully-functional reliable exploit will be available in the near future," Symantec explained in a blog post. "When this happens, attackers will have the abilty to insert the exploit in websites infecting potential visitors."
Attendees at Microsoft’s Professional Developer Conference in Los Angeles got a sneak preview of IE9 yesterday. From what was presented it’s not really clear what type of personality IE9 will take on.
Ray Ozzie, chief software architect, stated Microsoft want’s IE9 to be “a good balance between things we know and have to do and moving the whole notion of browsing forward.” The task of delivering the “most world class browsing experience we can develop,” he added, has to be done “in the most responsible way.” Which suggests IE9 will be brought into line with existing browser potential, but won’t be pushing any cutting-edge technology.
Changes and improvements are plenty. First off, IE9 will use the Trident rendering engine, running on DirectX instead of GDI. DirectX will shift graphic processing from software to hardware, which will boost the display of graphics and text, and provide smoother rendering of animation and video.
While DirectX adds advantages, apparently it also tosses up some roadblocks. Dean Hachamovitch, the general manager of the Internet Explorer team, says DirectX is hard to get right: “there's a huge benefit but it takes a lot of work to get all of the details right – like how do controls like Flash work and what about printing?” Being best positioned to “get all the details right”, DirectX helps Microsoft, but may not help out cross-platform browsers, which may not want to make the commitment.
IE9 will better support standards, such as CSS, including CSS3. IE9 scores 574 out of 578 on the CSS3 selectors test--much better than the 330 out of 578 scored by IE8. (Again, Safari and Firefox on my Mac both score perfect 578s.)
IE9 is at best a work in progress. Right now there is no canvas or SVG support, and no real commitment to HTML 5 standards. But, with no release date yet announced, and a technical preview not available until sometime next year, it’s a good bet IE9 will evolve into something a bit different than what we’re seeing today.
Microsoft uses the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) as a platform to showcase new technology and make some key announcements. This year is no different. Today, Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie tried to woo those attending his opening keynote speech at the ongoing PDC09 with the promise of making Internet Explorer 9 the "best Internet browser without compromise.”
Microsoft VP Steven Sinofsky is expected to shed more light on the company’s plans vis-à-vis IE9 when he delivers tomorrow’s keynote speech. According to Cnet, Microsoft will not be previewing IE9 at PDC. It also ruled out the possibility of Microsoft switching its browser to the WebKit engine.
Google's lean, mean, browsing machine called Chrome is pretty darned zippy, but the search giant envisions a much faster Web. Enter SPDY, pronounced "SPeeDY," an early-state research project that is part of Google's effort to supercharge Web.
"SPDY is at its core an application-layer protocol for transporting content over Web," Google wrote in its Chromium blog. "It is designed specifically for minimizing latency through features such as multiplexed streams, request prioritization, and HTTP header compression."
Google is toying around with SPDY as a successor to HTTP. So far, it has only tested SPDY in lab conditions with some pretty impressive results. According to Google, it saw "significant improvement" when downloading the top 25 websites over simulated home network connections, with pages loading 55 percent faster.
"Thee is still a lot of work we need to do to evaluate the performance of SPDY in real-world conditions. However, we believe that we have reached th stage where our small team could benefit from the active participation, feedback, and assistance of the Web community," Google added.
Mozilla this week released the second beta for its upcoming Firefox 3.6 browser. If you decide to ditch your stable build and jump on the pre-release browser, Mozilla says Firefox will update itself during the beta period and eventually to the final release.
The out-of-date plugin alerts might be the most interesting new feature of the bunch. Earlier this week, security vendor Ceznic noted that Firefox accounted for 44 percent of all browser vulnerabilities, 'beating' out every other browser by 9 percent or more. Ceznic noted that part of the reason Firefox led the pack is because of the large number of plugins, which accounted for a "fair amount of the vulnerabilities."
View the release notes and download a copy of the second beta build here.
It turns out our favorite browser might also be the most susceptible to security breaches. According to application security vendor Cenzic, Firefox leads the way in terms of total vulnerabilities, accounting for 44 percent of all browser vulnerabilities reported in the first half of 2009.
Coming in second is Apple's Safari browser, which accounted for 35 percent. And what about everyone's favorite whipping browser, Internet Explorer? A comparatively low 15 percent. The Opera faithful will be stoked to learn that their favorite browser was the least vulnerable of the bunch with just a 6 percent share.
As to why Firefox's numbers were so high, Cenzic said it was a combination of things.
"They've gotten more traction as a browser, which is good for them and the more you get used the more exposure you have. As well a fair amount of the vulnerabilities have come by way of plug-ins," noted Lars Ewe, CTO of Cenzic.
In other words, Firefox's biggest strength -- customization through plug-ins -- might also be its biggest weakness. However, it's important to note that just because the tweakable browser had the most vulnerabilities, it doesn't mean that Firefox users were more at risk. According to Ewe, Ceznic looked at all reported vulnerabilities and made no distinction between a zero day bug and less serious security holes.