The first public beta of 360desktop was made available today. I downloaded it, played around, and uninstalled it. Neat concept, not even close to ready for daily usage.
Yes, it’s a beta. That’s why I’m cutting it some slack. In truth? It should be labeled alpha. The Vista PC I tested it on is a P4 2.8GHz, 2GB RAM, 300GB 7200RPM HD and an NVIDIA GeForce FX 5500. 360desktop ran so slowly it was painful to use. It brought the entire system to a standstill. Admittedly, my video card certainly is not top of the line, but it does run Aero perfectly smoothly.
I’ll back up a second, since you might be asking “ok, but what is 360desktop?”. From their FAQ section and home page:
360desktop is a free and safe software download, that transforms your standard Windows desktop into a 360-degree panoramic workspace, giving you many times more desktop space. 360desktop is the convergence of the web and the desktop. If you “get” what they mean by Web 2.0, you can think of us as Desktop 2.0.
If you give it a shot, by all means please let me know how it runs on your PC (leave a comment). Right now it’s available for both XP and Vista, though not the 64bit version of Vista.
It crashed, twice, in the 20 minutes I tested it out. It brought explorer.exe down with it once. It randomly placed widgets on my desktop, though at no point did I have any installed. Update: thanks to Paul (see comments) for explaining that the widgets were included as a part of the (currently) default theme, “4th of July”). I don’t want to discourage you from trying it (though my installation of Vista is 2 days old, so it’s rather unlikely that it was “my system” at fault, in terms of conflicting software or OS errors). But in case you decide to wait a version or two, here are some screenshots to tide you over.
A version or three from now I hope to be eating my words. This product is a great idea, in theory. The current execution is lacking.