Microsoft recently released the Origami Experience 2.0 for Windows Vista, download it here. This is an update to the Microsoft UMPC interface. The Origami Experience is designed for small screens with touch-capabilities, but after just trying it out on my laptop with Vista Ultimate I figured – some of these features would fit into the Media Center interface perfectly.
There are a lot to say about the Windows Media Center interface, I think it is quite good – needs some fixes though; why are films divided in three categories – Videos, Recorded TV and DVD’s? The media features in the interface are quite good, but in our family we have a Media Center in our living room and we quite often use it to browse the Internet or run other programs. That’s where I can see a great marriage between the Media Center and Origami interfaces.
Origami Experience 2.0 contains two interesting features; Origami Now and Origami Central.
The Origami Now application is a dashboard application in which you can create Tiles. Each Tile can contain a list, an RSS feed, your e-mails etc.
I can really imagine how this would fit into the Media Center interface; your Tiles would consist of recently recorded shows and images, scheduled recordings, TV-guide etc together with the Origami Tiles. Then you would have a really nice Media Center Start Page, instead of the kind of boring Media Center Start there is today, see below.
In Origami Central you can start programs, listen or view your media, read your feeds or surf the Internet, in a very user friendly manner. Take a look at these screenshots.
I especially like the browser and feed interfaces, which are two features that should have been in Media Center by default a long time ago.
Of course, it is all touch screen oriented. So currently there is no good way to have this running on a Media Center machine, since you need a mouse or a “touch screen flat TV” :-), you can’t use the Media Center remote control to navigate easily. But I guess Microsoft could fix this pretty easy, even if it’s not integrated into Media Center you should be able to navigate the Origami applications using arrow keys…
So, I know there are some Microsofties who are reading this blog, please forward this post to your colleagues in the Media Center Team and have them arrange a meeting!
I know that the “Fiji” testing has begun, and unfortunately I have not yet made it into the program so I have no clue if these issues already has been addressed in upcoming versions of Windows Media Center.