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First impressions: Opera 9.5 alpha a worthy contender

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Software

Opera has always defied conventional wisdom: in the past, the company was able to survive by selling web browsers when Microsoft and Netscape were giving them away. More recently, the company shifted to giving away its desktop browser, pulling revenue from sales in the mobile arena and affiliate deals integrated into the browser. The company has proven to be rugged and focused on quality.

Now, the company has released alpha builds of the latest version of their desktop product, Opera 9.5 (code-named Kestrel). While it doesn't quite add enough features to justify a full version number bump, it is a welcome update for any Opera fan and may well get users of more popular browsers to take a second look. Despite being an "alpha" release, we've found a solid improvement to an already very strong browser.

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