AOL OpenRide was an Internet application suite made by AOL that combined e-mail, instant-messaging, a web browser and a media player in one window. Anyone could download it for free, but to make maximum use of the software you needed to sign in with an AOL or AIM screenname.
The main program interface was divided into 4 mini-windows, called panes:
- The People pane enabled users to sign into the AOL Instant Messenger service to display the user's buddy list and ongoing conversations.
- The E-mail pane was a standard email client. It was not restricted to just AOL email, but allowed users to add email accounts from other providers.
- The web browser pane ran AOL Explorer, which used the Trident rendering engine but 'enhanced' it with tabbed browsing and other features.
- The media pane provided access to AOL's collection of videos, the Radio@AOL service, and featured a media player for files on the user's local hard drive.
In late May 2007, after being available for less than 6 months, AOL took down access to download AOL OpenRide on their official download page but continued to support it on help page.
In late July 2007, news broke that AOL OpenRide was to be replaced by "AOL Helix". Helix was then renamed to AOL Desktop, which incorporates most of AOL OpenRide's feature. However, key features were missing such as the Dynasizer, along with the multi-pane layout, and OpenRide's Media Center which incorporated AOL's desktop search, pictures, music, files, XM Radio, new feeds, and a flash player. As of December 2007, users of OpenRide are no longer able to log into the AOL network with the OpenRide application to use Email/IM, you are immediately logged off and referred to the download page of AOL Desktop. The only feature that still works is the web browser.