New Opera Browser Aims at IE 7

The company plans to challenge Microsoft by making version 10 compatible with such diverse platforms as game consoles and mobile phones

Opera is making plans to steal market share from Microsoft.

Although a launch date for Opera 10 hasn't yet been set, Opera is hoping the application will lure users away from Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 by building on Opera 9's use of small web applications called widgets.

Opera 9 was released on 20 June, and is intended to combat IE 7's release later this year, according to the company.

An Opera representative said: "Opera 9 is the first salvo towards IE 7. We're trying to give a user-friendly experience and eliminate problems."

Opera wants version 10 to work on and across any platform, a continuation of its work to make Opera 9 compatible with different platforms such as Nintendo DS games consoles, as a way of differentiating the browser from Microsoft's offering.

The representative added: "We want to enable Opera 10 to work on any device - mobile, desktop, games consoles. We want to find ways to tie things in much better. That's something we do that Microsoft fundamentally can't."

The company will also develop more widgets. Opera is aiming for a day when people needn't use a full desktop operating system, instead using a browser and web applications for most tasks.

There is also a big push in the company towards creating developer tools.

The representative said: "We will be unleashing developer tools, which are still in the planning stages. We want developers to use Opera as a web development platform, using open standards. We need to keep the web ready for open standards."

Opera is also hoping to take market share from IE 6, the most recent Microsoft browser, thanks to the security of the Opera architecture.

The representative added: "People can wait for IE 7, or they can use Opera 9 if they want to be safe now."

Opera 9 has already seen a significant uptake of users, with 700,000 downloads on the first day of release. Overall, Opera 9, including the mobile Mini version, has seen roughly 25 million downloads since its release in June.