Browser vendor says Aura enables a better, more responsive experience
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.
In some ways, Opera is the Rodney Dangerfield of browsers. Both have their rabid followers, and both struggle to gain respect from the mainstream audience. That's where the similarities end, and where Opera really distinguishes itself is in being relevant still today (apologies for the gut punch, Dangerfield fans). Opera Software's next big browser release -- Opera 12 -- is now available as an alpha build, and with it another major development.
With Microsoft releasing the first Internet Explorer (IE) 9 beta yesterday, the spotlight is squarely on Internet Explorer. Hardware acceleration is among the several advancements that IE 9 boasts over its predecessors. It is something that Google's Chrome does not currently have. Thankfully for Chrome users, they will not have to wait too long for hardware-accelerated graphics to show up in their favorite browser.
The latest Chromium “trunk” and Chrome “canary” builds already feature some of the relevant enhancements. Hardware acceleration will be part of the next major release of the browser, Chrome 7, which is just round the corner.
“2D canvas acceleration is now available in trunk and the canary build by using the --enable-accelerated-2d-canvas command-line switch (coming to the developer channel shortly).We’ve also been hard at work improving our 3D graphics stack,” Google said in a recent blog post.
According to James Robinson, a software engineer at Google, “Chromium already achieves some impressive gains on the recent IE9 Platform Preview Test Drive 2D canvas demo,” with initial results suggesting up to 60x speed improvement over previous Chrome versions.