Skip to main content

Opera Releases Neon 'Concept Browser'

Opera released a new "concept browser" called Neon to showcase its vision for the future of the web.

Browsers used to be dull. People chose their favorite--Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer--and bothered with a different browser only if a website didn't support their preferred app. Many of those browsers are similar, however, in design, if not in performance. Tabs are lined up on top of the window, a toolbar lets people interact with various web pages, and a text field allows people to enter URLs or search the web for anything their hearts desire.

Neon is Opera's attempt to shake things up a bit. Tabs are represented by spheres on the right side of the page that automatically rise or fall based on how often they're used. Media--videos, photos, and downloads--is collected on the opposite side of the window. And the browser allows people to view two web pages at once, which can be useful if someone's researching a paper or messaging someone on Facebook, instead of switching between tabs.

Those features, combined with a transparent background that shows the underlying desktop wallpaper, built-in screenshots, and pop-out videos, make it seem like Opera wants to compete more with Chrome OS than the Chrome browser. It's easier to imagine spending all day in a browser when it more closely resembles a desktop experience, which is exactly what Neon offers, than it is to use more traditional browsers and their stodgy interfaces.

All of which makes Neon seem like the browser a company would create in 2017. It's not perfect--for example, I noticed that its background isn't really transparent so much as it takes a snapshot of a desktop wallpaper after it's launched--and in some ways it's jarring. Seeing a bunch of tabs and buttons floating around a web page is weird, and so is looking for everything along the sides of a website instead of on top of it, neatly stuffed into a familiar toolbar.

Opera said in its announcement that Neon is also missing some features. "While Opera Neon has lots of new features–and many of the Opera browser features you know and love–there are some key features we have not included, such as our native ad-blocker, VPN and the ability to add extensions," executive vice president Krystian Kolondra said. "The reason for this is simply that Opera Neon is a concept browser, built for experimentation and play."

Still, Neon is a peek into the future, at least for Opera. The company said it plans to start including Neon features in its main app starting in spring 2017.

  • Scrotus
    Downloaded and installed but while looking different it doesn't seem to be very useful. It, without asking, pirated browsing history and who knows what else from my Firefox browser. Haven't been able to find a bookmarks option. I'll probably uninstall it and continue on with Firefox.
    Reply
  • techy1966
    I think most people just want a browser that works right. They don't want it to be all artsy fartsy and cartoon like well unless your 6 years old then maybe. All it has to do is display the page properly it don't need to make little bubbles etc. Once you figure that out lets us download that instead..Thanks Have a Nice Day.
    Reply
  • JimmiG
    There's already an actual next-generation browser from the real people behind Opera (not the Chinese investment group that owns the Opera brand), called Vivaldi.
    Reply
  • why_wolf
    sounds like its mostly form over function. The only thing that looked really useful was putting video in its own little window that you can move around.
    Reply
  • Nintendork
    They think too much on casual browsing behavior, not the real multitab browsing (10-20+).

    Firefox+session manager+classic theme (tabs on bottom) meets all my needs.
    Reply
  • Jagwired
    People are suprisingly knowledge about browsers. They know pages work differently in Firefox, Chrome, and Edge/Internet Explorer. They have a strong a reason to have all three of those browsers installed. Opera died when they dropped their rendering engine, Presto. A different UI and some features that can be achieved through plugins in other browers are not compelling reasons to use Opera.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    I can understand that she's not a native English speaker, but "Oprah browser"? She must be trying to appeal to their new, more casual audience. >_>

    I used Opera as my primary browser for around a decade before jumping ship when they discontinued their original desktop suite in favor of their current feature-deprived Chromium reskin. I moved to Firefox, and more recently Pale Moon, since even Firefox has been moving in a bad direction lately. Vivaldi is my go-to Chromium-based browser, since it's a lot like classic Opera, and they actually put some effort into building a usable interface. Vivaldi is more like what Opera's move to Chromium should have been.

    19150136 said:
    They think too much on casual browsing behavior, not the real multitab browsing (10-20+).

    Firefox+session manager+classic theme (tabs on bottom) meets all my needs.
    I keep multiple sessions, some with around 100 tabs, and use Session Manager and a number of other extensions to keep that usable. I can imagine how navigable that would be with balls moving around all over the place.
    Reply
  • shrapnel_indie
    19149193 said:
    There's already an actual next-generation browser from the real people behind Opera (not the Chinese investment group that owns the Opera brand), called Vivaldi.

    19151652 said:
    I used Opera as my primary browser for around a decade before jumping ship when they discontinued their original desktop suite in favor of their current feature-deprived Chromium reskin. I moved to Firefox, and more recently Pale Moon, since even Firefox has been moving in a bad direction lately. Vivaldi is my go-to Chromium-based browser, since it's a lot like classic Opera, and they actually put some effort into building a usable interface. Vivaldi is more like what Opera's move to Chromium should have been.

    I may need to check those two browsers out. Vivaldi, just to see how classic they got ir, and Pale Moon, just to see what it can and cannot do.
    Reply
  • husker
    "Tabs are represented by spheres on the right side of the page that automatically rise or fall based on how often they're used."

    Is there any evidence that people want their stuff rearranged like this? Are people losing productivity because things are where they put them, and apparently wanted them to begin with?
    Reply
  • 3ogdy
    OK, copying Facebook Messenger and CrApple's iWatchYou GUI is not exactly innovative, but hey, it's new , it's different...not sure whether somebody like me, who has about 100 tabs open at the same time would actually enjoy using that. I hate Chrome for that same reason: more tabs means making each tab smaller.
    Da duck?

    Vivaldi, while I still have it, is pretty awful. Slow as hell and the concept of startup, for them, apparently means:
    1. Prolonged high CPU usage
    2. Reload each and every single icon on my taskbar twice, one by one (90 icons on a triple-height bar)
    3.Take a break
    4. Finally start an initially laggy browser.
    What are you smoking? Got in touch with them and couldn't solve the problem.

    Maxthon runs better. I have Chrome, Firefox, Opera.
    System startup takes quite a hit with Chrome, despite me using an SSD 830.
    "Let's slow the entire system down in order to pretend our browser is fast". Awesome thinking, Google.

    Having said that, I'm mostly using Firefox. I don't see where the need to load each and every tab on startup comes from.
    32 GB of RAM are not for Chrome to load its tabs in.
    Reply