Swedish developer, Opera will release a Mac beta of the Internet browser it claims is "the fastest on earth" later this year.

The browser is currently in its alpha testing phase, with a public beta promised soon. It will be a fully-featured browser, designed to navigate the Internet speedily, with low memory and hard-disk requirements. Industry reports hint that the browser could become serious competition for established browser brands, including Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator.

The initial beta will be for PowerPC-based Macs, followed by versions for 680x0 and OS X versions by the end of the year.

Advertising The browser will be available in two versions – one being an ads-sponsored version, the other a registered paid version costing $39.

Opera is capable of surfing in multiple windows simultaneously and has full keyboard-navigation facilities. Though no Mac-file sizes for Opera on the Mac have been announced yet, industry experts expect file sizes to be smaller than current browsers.

The company is also arranging deals with portal and Internet appliance companies to include its browser in their products.