AOL Offers OpenRide Software for Free
AOL intros a new free version of its software – called AOL OpenRide – for all online users that combines access to email, instant messaging, Web browsing and search, as well as an all-in-one digital entertainment media center into a single interface. Optimized for broadband use, OpenRide works over any high-speed cable or DSL connection and is available now at no cost. Through an innovative interface, AOL OpenRide streamlines the online experience and makes it easier to multitask. Consumers can check multiple email accounts – from other providers and from AOL – as well as watch videos, listen to music and view photos and more – through one integrated screen. The screen is organized by a unique four-paned "Quad View" that keeps all features within reach and reduces window clutter.
Based on a new open and modular software technology platform, OpenRide represents the next evolution of AOL's all-in-one experience for broadband. As the OpenRide software evolves it will enable users to choose other features to bring in for additional customization and personalization.
Features of the OpenRide software include:
* "Quad View" interface that automatically adjusts itself based on the user's current activity to give them a better view. For added control and flexibility, the Dynasizer navigation tool lets users resize the panes at any time. The panes are designed to work with each other; for example, a user can easily share their digital photos from the Media Center through email or an instant message with one click.
* Access to multiple email accounts, with easy control of folders to store and organize messages. This includes email from any POP3 account, such as Google Gmail and Yahoo. Mail Plus, as well as email offered through broadband service providers, in addition to AOL Mail, AIM Mail and new AOL My eAddress personalized "vanity domains". AOL's spam and anti-virus protections are included with OpenRide to help keep users' AOL email inboxes free from junk mail and harmful viruses.
* Access to personal Buddy List feature and Address Book with presence indication. If a contact isn't online, OpenRide can turn an IM into a text message or e-mail, so the message reaches the recipient. Users can also send large files quickly via IM.
* All-in-one digital entertainment Media Center that makes it easy for users to view videos from their computer or from the Web, including highlights from the new AOL Video portal. From the Media Center, consumers can also listen to hundreds of online radio stations through AOL Radio with XM or play songs from their own personal library, view and share their digital photos, as well as access files from their computer - with desktop search functionality provided – from one place.
* Web Browser that includes time-saving features such as tabbed browsing and thumbnail previews, as well as enhanced security, such as phishing protection and spyware protection, to help keep users safer online. The AOL.com Web portal gives OpenRide users immediate access to top news stories, videos, weather, sports, and more.
OpenRide can be downloaded and installed in minutes and there is no sign-in to use the browser and Media Center, only when users want to access personal communication features. Consumer input played an invaluable role throughout the research and development process for OpenRide. AOL surveyed thousands of Internet users – including those who've used AOL software and those who haven't – about the OpenRide concept and prototype, and conducted in-home field testing with hundreds of households to test the product prior to its initial release.
Research focused on consumers' broadband behaviors, including the core Internet activities on which they spend the most time, as well as emerging trends and interests. Among other things, the research identified a need to make it easier for people to multitask more efficiently online without having to jump between multiple windows. Unique features like the Quad View interface and Dynasizer tool were created as a direct result.
In addition to the new OpenRide software, AOL has made many of its popular features and services available for free for anyone with an Internet connection as part of the Company's strategy to expand the size and engagement of its audience. This includes AOL software and email, new vanity domains via My eAddress, Safety and Security Center, Active Virus Shield full computer virus/spyware protection and Active Security Monitor, AOL Parental Controls, 5 GB of free storage via Xdrive.com, a free local phone number via AIM Phoneline, and more.
This fall, AOL also plans to launch a new version of AOL Search that is optimized for broadband. Currently in Beta, the new search service goes beyond just text links and organizes relevant results in a variety of formats on one easy-to-use page, including Web search enhanced by Google, plus relevant videos, pictures, sound clips, local information and more.
OpenRide is designed for Internet users who have any broadband (high speed cable or DSL) online connection. The OpenRide software works with Microsoft Windows XP, and requires a Pentium II, 300Mhz or better processor, and 256MB+ RAM memory. The software is optimized for a computer screen resolution of 1024x768 or higher.
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