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Beta 1 of the latest version of the Opera browser, Opera 7, was released late last night, and is now available for download in the Windows version from Opera.com. Version 7 is an extensive rewrite intended which includes a new rendering engine with support for Document Object Model (DOM) version 2, a new email client and Opera's forthcoming Small Screen Rendering (SSR) technology, which is intended to allow you to browse via a mobile phone, or similarly small-screened device.

The email client, a weak feature in previous versions of Opera, includes numerous bells and whistles, not forgetting an integrated spam filter. Opera has also twiddled with the look and feel as regards skimming, buttons and the multiple and single document modes introduced with Opera 6. Briefly, this was intended to allow you to run Opera either like Windows, or in the previous Opera mode of having everything anchored together in an Opera window. Now, you can apparently do both at the same time, with tabbed browsing lobbed in as an extra.

No, we've no idea how that works either. In addition, Opera now supports multiple user profiles, so there's less chance of your having your saved browser windows (one of our favourite Opera features) overwritten by other people's sessions.

The software is available free with a sponsored ad banner, or at a $10 discount from the usual $39 registration during the beta period. Registering also gets you free support via email, and six months free OperaMail Premium, which will run from when you download the finished version. ®

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