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April 30, 2008

Origami Experience 2.0 Part 1: Web Browsing

In Part 1 of my 4 part series of blog posts looking at the Origami Experience 2.0 software, I am going to talk about one of the most important new experiences in the new release: browsing the web directly in Origami Central. Origami Central, one of the three apps in the Origami Experience, has the built in capability to browse webpages just as you would in IE7. ActiveX controls work just fine in the browsing experience of Origami Central – as does Flash and Silverlight (demo video below!).

In Origami Central, the browsing experience is tied to the toolbar that auto-hides at the top of the window.

Because the toolbar auto-hides, I get a full screen web browsing experience and with a UMPC running at 1024×600 resolution without toolbars and other things taking up useful screen real-estate.

Just like in IE7, I can use the address bar in Origami Central to do web searches. But in Origami Central, when I type something in the address bar (a phrase or URL), it searches through the history of websites I have already visited. I typed in “windows” into the address bar and these 3 previously visited websites came up:

To do web searches, Origami Central provides a really unique way of searching the web using Live Search. When I type in a search term, it provides a list of popular searches that change depending on the term of course. It also provides previous searches I’ve made.

Basic functionality for web browsing such as adding favorites also exists in Origami Central. In the toolbar, when I click the gadget-looking icon a list of options appears over the website I am on. Those options allow me to add the site to my favorites (which uses the same favorites as IE), add the site’s RSS to my RSS feeds, take a snapshot of the site, or use the zoom capabilities.

When I take a snapshot of a website, it takes a complete “freeze” of the page I am at. I can go back to that site and read the site or access links etc. I can even scroll down to view other parts of the site (as long as it’s on the same page of course).

My favorites, history, and snapshots are all available in my “Library” by clicking the star icon in the toolbar.

Origami Central also has touch capabilities as well but I think perhaps my demo video will be better at showcasing that feature (as well as the above mentioned features of web browsing in Origami Central. Take a look!

Web Browsing with Origami Central

In the demo video, I utilize the touch capabilities in Origami Central to navigate Photosynth from Microsoft Live Labs. You can also see the overall experience of browsing the web via Origami Central first hand.  I apologize in advance for some parts of the video (like where it sounds like I said “stylist” instead of stylus).

Stay tuned for Part 2 in which I discuss the new RSS capabilities in Origami Experience 2.0 with Origami Central.