Last month, AMD revealed that its upcoming "Cartwheel" mainstream platform would include an application dubbed AMD Live! Explorer in order to provide a "common [user interface] for all entertainment." Barely a month later, AMD has simultaneously announced a new platform brand known as AMD Live! Ultra and the release of the first beta version of the Live! Explorer app. The Live! Ultra brand denotes PCs based on AMD's existing Spider enthusiast platform, its upcoming Puma notebook platform, and future platforms that will feature a combination of AMD dual- or quad-core processors, Radeon HD graphics, and AMD chipsets.
As one might expect, the Live! Explorer software is billed as the "ideal companion" to Live! Ultra PCs. In AMD's words, the software offers "an immersive, 3D approach to browsing a PC's complete digital media library while also enjoying a video, TV program or Internet access in the same window." Essentially, it looks like a cousin of Microsoft's Windows Media Center software with snazzy 3D effects and a lock-in that allows it to be installed only on AMD systems. A video showcasing Live! Explorer can be viewed on this page, and the beta release of the software itself is available here.
AMD says PC vendors and system builders will start selling Live! Ultra-branded desktops in the first half of this year, followed by Live! Ultra-branded notebooks in the second half. Additionally, AMD mentions that Acer, Alienware, Asus, and MSI plan to offer Live! Explorer software as an option on select retail PCs early this year. Those companies will be able to customize the software, as well.