On 9 September Opera released the first beta of Opera 9.6 with the tagline 'designed with your life in mind'. While this first BETA release does hold a lot for users
- Link it: Opera Link now lets you also synchronize custom Search engines and typed History. So any website address you typed in one computer will be available in all your other computers.
- Speed Enhancement: Go on, surf around, you'll notice the Web is snappier with Opera 9.6 beta with faster page loading than previous versions.
- Low Bandwidth Mode: Now the mail client reduces data downloads as much as possible so you can check your mail faster when you are on the move. Enable it in your account properties and enjoy a faster email experience.
and more. Of particular interest for developers was the release of the Opera Standard Development Kit 9.6 for devices. The Software Development Kit is available to device manufacturers allowing them to build a browser for their devices, such as TVs, set top boxes, portable media players, Internet tablets, VoIP phones, vehicles and games consoles. One of the biggest aspects of the new SDK is that they have an alpha version of OBML included. OBML was previously only available and used for the Opera Mini browser for mobile phones but is now available in the SDK to employ even for desktop browser uses.
A summary of the features of the SDK follows:
The Rendering Engine
The Opera Devices SDK 9.6 has been upgraded to use Presto 2.1, the same standards-compliant rendering engine that is included in Opera 9.5 and 9.6 for desktop computers, and Opera Mobile 9.5. You can find out more about how to develop for Presto 2.1 and the specifications it supports in the Dev Opera article Presto 2.1—web standards supported by Opera’s core.
One of the most noticeable features of the SDK is Opera Zoom. This feature was introduced in the Nintendo Wii browser, and has since been featured in Opera Mini and Opera Mobile. This was available in the 9.5 version of the SDK, and is now hardware-accelerated, enabling it to run on more devices with improved performance.
Opera Binary Markup Language Support
This release of the SDK introduces experimental OBML (Opera Binary Markup Language) support which compresses Web pages by up to 90 percent when enabled. This speeds up page loading times considerably, especially on low bandwidth networks.
Universal Plug And Play
This release also includes a demo version of Universal Plug and Play support. This zero- configuration standard allows multiple devices to be detected without any manual configuration by the user.
Opera Devices 9.6 SDK also debuts fraud detection support. This is primarily an end-user feature, but provides peace of mind for sites that are often the target of phishing attacks, such as banks, online shopping and auctions.
Plug-Ins And Fonts
The SDK provides support for the NPAPI (Netscape Plug-in API) for browser plug-ins. Opera can provide the Adobe Flash plug-in for devices that use the SDK, provided that the plug-in is available for that platform and architecture.