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Just when you thought we had enough web browsers available another goes and pops up right under our noses. That’s exactly what the Japanese browser called Sleipnir did, and it’s managed to scrounge up 9% of the browser market share in Japan.

What’s so special about Sleipnir? It reminds me a lot of Maxthon and Avant Browser in what it has set out to accomplish. Basically it uses Internet Explorer’s rendering engine (called Trident) to display sites, but the browser itself is customizable with the use of plug-ins and skins. One of the biggest benefits of using this over the other IE-based browsers is that it can also use Firefox’s rendering engine (called Gecko) to display sites. This is something that Maxthon used to offer, but it was abandoned when Maxthon 2 was released.

The best thing Sleipnir has going for it is how efficiently it manages its memory. When running it the memory usage starts at about 34MB, and will gradually increase as you open more tabs. No matter how many tabs I opened and closed the memory usage would always fall back to 34MB when I had no websites open. If I let it sit there idle for a few minutes it would even fall as low as 28MB. That’s among the best memory usage I’ve seen for any graphical web browser.

I don’t think I’ll be switching to Sleipnir anytime soon, but it’s nice to see alternatives like this. The browser arena is getting a little crowded though.

Note: A portable version of Sleipnir is available.

Sleipnir Homepage [via InfoWorld]