Opera Software will release a preview of its next browser, Opera 9.0, on Tuesday with integrated support for BitTorrent downloads, a dozen "widgets," and other enhancements to keep it competitive with rivals such as Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 1.5.
The Technical Preview, said Opera spokesman Thomas Ford, will post early Tuesday, Oslo time on a new Opera Labs Web site. "We're making the preview available so people can see what our newest technology can do," said Ford.
Users will be able to search for BitTorrent downloads using the Opera search field, said Ford; after they've selected a file, the download is processed by the browser's Transfer Manager, a feature similar to Firefox's Download Manager.
BitTorrent is an open source, peer-to-peer protocol for distributing files that uses the upstream bandwidth of every user to boost the speed of all downloads. This is the first time that BitTorrent has struck an agreement with a third party software maker to license its trademark.
The other major addition to Opera 9.0 is support for widgets, small Web-enabled applications that sit on the desktop and perform simple, one-task duties, such as deliver weather reports or news.