Opera browser exits beta with Chromium heart

Opera for Windows and Mac has exited beta, with the final version of the Chromium-based browser released. Previewed as Opera Next back in May, the new software was built from scratch, Opera says, on top of Google's Chromium engine, and includes a new Speed Dial page for faster access to favorite sites, and the Discover page for filtering through new content.

Discover works much in the way that services like Flipboard and HTC BlinkFeed try to deliver topical and relevant content based on a range of the reader's interests. By choosing core categories, as well as locations, the user gets filtered news and other content pushed to the browser.

There's also Stash, which works as an Evernote-style clippings log for saved webpages. Opera suggests it could be handy when making travel plans – gathering up all flight, hotel, and other information in one readily-organized place – though it could equally be used to log recipes, instructions on DIY pages, and long-form content to read later.

Mobile users, meanwhile, get Off-Road mode, which compresses data server-side before the browser downloads it. That, Opera says, makes for a more usable experience even when the connection is poor, and could be useful if you're trying to browse on a 3G or patchy WiFi link.

Eventually, Opera will transition to Blink, Google's new Chromium engine that will replace WebKit. Although WebKit is widely used, Google said back in April when it announced its intentions to switch, it also carries with it a lot of legacy code, which makes for a slower experience and issues with compatibility.