According to Net Applications just about 0.71% of the net population uses the Opera browser. But according to Google Analytics, about three times that number of SitePoint users use Opera (clearly a more enlightened bunch than the general web populace). Today Opera announced the release of version 10.0 Alpha 1 for Mac, Windows, and UNIX, just about a month after the release of their last stable version, 9.62.

The new release includes an updated version of their core Presto rendering engine. Presto 2.2 gets improved CSS performance, and scores 100/100 on the Acid3 web standards test. The new Presto engine also ships with an improved regular expression engine, which Opera says will speed up the browser experience overall.

Opera 10 also has some catch-up improvements that other browsers have had for awhile, including inline spell checking (like Firefox), the ability to auto-update without user notification (a la Google Chrome), and improvements to Opera Mail that lets users send rich text emails, and allows them remove emails from a POP server after a specified number of days.

Opera 10 Alpha 1 can be downloaded here.

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