Opera’s experimental ‘Neon’ browser brings innovation to old tech



Opera, the perennial provider of browsers for the desktop, has been at it for long. It’s known for its willingness to come up with new perspectives & functionalities for this staid category. Now its Neon browser introduces an “alternate reality” with a fresh & fun UI.

Neon is for Windows & Mac, & it incorporates your desktop wallpaper as the browser’s background image. This makes it look like your browser is floating over the desktop & helps de-clutter. Neon is very similar to Coast, Opera’s other experimental browser for Tablets, in that there’s no address bar at the top & is instead slightly off center, surrounded by “bubbles” that hold links to favorite sites in a similar fashion as Opera’s speed dial feature.

This browser doesn’t have tabs since the bubbles that line up on the right side of the browser also serve to show you what’s been opened, showing you an icon & a small screen capture. This looks like an easier & quicker way to find & navigate through open sites than conventional tabs, especially when a lot of them are open.

Neon also comes up with an ingenious way of reproducing multimedia Content (audio & video) when you have multiple open pages. There’s a shortcut on the left side that gives you quick access to them & lets you start or stop playback without having to actually find the open page where they’re located. Another 2 icons on the left of the browser let you capture & manage Content & downloads.

You can also split the browser’s viewing area in 2 so you can look at both pages simultaneously, in a similar way as you can do in some mobile or Tablet browsers.

Internally, Neon uses the Blink engine, so the rendering of HTML & CSS code is exactly the same as the conventional Opera browser. It does have some limitations compared to Opera in that it’s not as configurable & doesn’t have plugin capabilities.

This is really Opera’s attempt at a next gen browser for the desktop & a work in progress, which is quite usable & a lot more fun to use than your garden variety browser.

Opera is headquartered in Oslo, Norway & offers the Neon browser as a free download. You can download it for free for Windows or Mac here.

Image Credit: Opera


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