Opera updates browsers; eyes Asian market

Opera Software ASA sang forth a series of announcements this week, including the release of new versions of the Opera browser for both Windows and Linux, as well as deals indicating it hopes to reach a crescendo in the Asian market.

The Opera 6.02 browser for Linux was formally unveiled Wednesday, coming with fixes to the document and user interface and with a special emphasis on the display of Asian characters, the company said. Opera 6 for Linux was the first version of the browser to support non-Western characters and received a strong reception in Asian markets, according to the company.

Opera Software expects the latest version to gain even more ground in the region, in part thanks to recent deals the company has sewn with software vendors. Also Wednesday, Opera said that Germany's SuSE Linux AG would be distributing Opera's Linux Web browser with its SuSE Linux 8.0 desktop software. Additionally, the company announced earlier this week that China's Redflag Software Co. Ltd. has agreed to embed the Opera for Linux browser into some of its Linux applications for distribution in the Chinese market.

But despite what the browser company is calling its "Linux Bonanza," it also managed to release a new version of its Opera for Windows software this week. Opera 6.04 for Windows boasts a number of fixes for reported bugs, especially for Asian users, the company said.

The Opera browser for Windows is the company's most popular software distribution, totalling some 12 million downloads and installations, the Oslo, Norway, company said.

Opera 6.04 for Windows is free and available for download at http://www.opera.com/windows/changelog/. Opera 6.02 for Linux is also free and can be found at http://www.opera.com. Banner advertising-free versions of the browsers are available for US$39 each, the company said.