Next for Opera: Minimalist design, engine switcheroo

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Opera Software today released the first beta version of its flagship browser that uses the open-source WebKit rendering engine, making good on a pledge from February.

"Opera Next" -- analogous to a beta -- shipped Tuesday for Windows and OS X as version 15, skipping from the current production-grade browser, Opera 12, to synchronize with the engine's identifier. The application identifies itself as a WebKit browser, the same engine used by Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome.

Google, however, is ditching WebKit for its own variant, called "Blink," and Opera has promised to follow in Chrome's footsteps. The shift to WebKit is the first step.

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