Opera is joyfully celebrating the 40th birthday of Jon Von Tetzchner, their founder and CEO. The Register recently interviewed him where he chatted about Opera’s success…particularly in the mobile browser market. As it stands right now Opera has some big releases shipping within the next week!

For starters Opera Mini 4 Beta 2 will be coming out tomorrow with better Blackberry support and some new features. I’m crossing my fingers that it will fix the rendering of our site, which right now has problems with our upper navigation bar. It renders fine in every other browser (including Safari on the iPhone) so hopefully it will fix itself.

Even bigger news is that the Desktop Team announced the release date of Opera 9.5 Alpha to be next Tuesday. It is supposed to have some cool new features as well as a ton of bug fixes, but more importantly we’ll finally see what resides in the Status Bar:

Opera 9.5 CSS Selector Test

Here’s a list of what we know Opera 9.5 will have:

  • Improved CSS3 support (including text-shadow)
  • Superior SVG support
  • New javascript engine with support for ECMAScript 4 ’getters’ and ’setters’.
  • Several usability improvements that make the popular features easier to access, and more consistent with other browsers. The changes made are based on the feedback received from the users.
  • Screen reader support, which is typically used by the visually impaired to have websites read back to them.
  • Improved keyboard navigation and more consistent keyboard shortcuts
  • Mac users will get a new visual look and feel
  • Many speed improvements which result in faster page loading and a more responsive interface.

I can’t wait to see what Tuesday brings! Mark your calendar.

Source: Opera Watch and Opera Desktop Team

Update: The Opera 9.5 download is now available. We have put together an exclusive review detailing the new features, along with a video demonstration.