There are two versions of Opera at present, one is the stable version used for day-to-day browsing, other is Opera Next, which has been introduced with alpha release of Opera 11.50. Opera Next with cutting edge features is aimed at early adopters and web developers to test new features, technologies, improvements and Changes to be released by Opera for the upcoming major versions.
You can use Opera and Opera Next at the same time as both these browsers don’t share the same profile, these two can be easily distinguished as they’ve different icons and installed in different directories and changes made to Opera won’t reflects in Opera Next and vice versa.
Opera Next release cycles
Opera Next with auto-update feature automatically downloads and installs updates whenever new builds released on Opera Desktop Team blog are verified, Opera Next covers updates of Snapshots, alpha, beta, beta 2, RC ,RC2 and Final versions. The builds that are not verified by Opera Deskteam blog won’t be updated automatically in Opera Next.
Disabling Automatic Snapshot updates in Opera Next
If you’re a developer don’t want to get snapshot updates you can unselect DownloadAllSnapshots option in opera:config page to avoid them. You can still get Beta, RC and final updates on Opera Next.
Though stable Opera does get Beta, RC and final versions and these are same for Opera Next also but their installation paths are different. Only final version is automatically updated in Opera if enabled by the user.
Opera Next is not recommended for Everyday Browsing
Opera Next offers snapshots and alpha builds- Snapshots are heavily loaded with experimental features and on other side alpha builds still in an early days of testing, these builds can make Opera Next unstable. So you’re warned not to use this browser for everyday surfing. You can download Opera Next from here.
Opera Next (chromium-based) has been renamed to Opera Beta. Read: Opera Beta (Formerly Opera Next) now available with Bookmarks