A new web browser called Sleipnir is charging into the Japanese market and is preparing to make a global push. Though parent company Fenrir has no numbers for release regarding its user base, the most recent Wiki page ranks the company as having a 6% market share in Japan.
You may be wondering about the very un-Japanese name... Sleipnir comes from Viking mythology: he's the eight-legged horse ridden across the heavens by Odin.
The history of this upstart browser is a bit dramatic. Sleipnir 1 was developed by Yasuyuki Kashiwagi, now the president of Fenrir. In November of 2004, Kashiwagi's computer containing all the source code was stolen.
Sometimes a clean start is good, however, so in 2005 Kashiwagi established Fenrir & Co. for restarting Sleipnir as version 2, which is totally different from V1. Fenrir hopes to enlarge their user base from around 100,000 to 17 million by launching a global site, and Sleipnir 3 Alpha has been released with plans to make other language versions.
Intrigued, I decided to give version 2.8.3 of this browser a try. After installing, you will notice an IE icon at the bottom left corner of the window. This is a menu to switch between rendering engines: IE's Trident or Mozilla's Gecko.
Numerous plugins are available from Fenrir's site, adding stuff like screen capture, offline RSS and more menu options among other things. Mobile Sleipnir is a version that you can install on your flash drive for use at other computers or if you don't want to install the browser on your main system.
Other useful features include numerous themes and support for mouse gestures that can be assigned to browser functions.
Fenrir also created SleipnirStart.com, a modifed Google page that can be customized with sites that you regularly go to under the search box. By default, things like Google Maps, YouTube, Amazon, Hatena and 2Channel (the last two are Japanese services) appear under that box.
In conclusion, Sleipnir is a solid competitor in the browser wars and those who want a crazy-customizable browser should be well served by Sleipnir. One downside note - the browser is only available for Windows so those running Linux or MacOS will have to wait for now. You can download Sleipnir at Fenrir's site. (via CNET Asia)