At long last, Opera is launching the first official beta of its browser today, dubbed Opera 12 Beta. But what surprised us is the company’s decision to end its support for Unite, a built-in personal cloud streaming platform first introduced in 2009. Opera is also killing Opera Widgets including its built-in speech recognition, text-to-speech and VoiceXML.

But why? Perhaps, the company had to say no to the good in order to say yes to the best. Whatever that means, we’re sure that Opera is definitely doing it for the good. That appears to be true as the new beta release features a new engine for writing and viewing themes. The new version now runs its plugins separately, which means goodbye to the frequent crashes brought about by a single plugin error.

We’ve also seen the Opera browser in various benchmark tests. Fortunately, low-level changes were made as well to optimize the load times. There’s also the 64-bit versions for both Windows and Mac and of course, Opera Reader, which aims to give its users a more traditional “book-reading” experience. You can download Opera 12 Beta here (Opera Next).

Filed in Web. Read more about Browser and Opera.

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