Opera has unveiled the beta version of its latest web browser, Opera 10.5, which it claims is its fastest ever.

The software company says Opera 10.5 features a brand-new JavaScript engine, known as Carakan, which works in conjunction with Vega, its new graphics library, to run web applications up to eight times faster than previous versions of the web browser. Opera has also given the browser an updated version of its Opera Turbo technology that compresses the bandwidth of text and data files on websites by 80 percent, ensures pages load faster.

Users will benefit from a new minimalist-style interface, along with a private browsing mode that leaves no trace of the websites visited, and the ability to add search engines and websites of your choice to the search bar.

The Opera Presto 2.5 engine, which also features in the browser, offers enhanced support for HTML5, full support for CSS 2.1 and much of the latest CSS3. Opera says this displays websites "just as developers and designers intended them to look".

The new version of the browser also supports the Windows 7 Aero Peek and Jump Lists features.

"Our previous JavaScript engine, Futhark, was the fastest when it was first introduced a few years ago, and the challenge for our engineers was to once again to make Opera the fastest browser on earth," said Christen Krogh, Opera's chief development officer."We are proud today to show the results of the amazing work the team has done, and we are looking forward with great anticipation to the final release of Opera 10.50."

Opera 10.5 is available for Windows users. Opera says Mac and Linux versions of the browser will follow shortly. The browser can be downloaded from Opera's dedicated web page.