EBay to release browser-independent console next month

Now in beta test, EffectiveUI's new eBay Desktop is aimed at letting users shop, search and buy from their desktops instead of inside Web browsers, as well as to simplify user tasks and 'optimize rich media' along the way.

In an effort to give the eBay online auction site a richer and more adaptable front end, a software vendor named EffectiveUI is now beta testing a stand-alone eBay console. Its functionality will be provided by the AIR platform, Adobe's Flash-based UI production environment that expects to meet a heavy challenge this year from Microsoft's Silverlight.

EffectiveUI's new eBay Desktop, now available for download from eBay, is slated to leave beta at the end of February, as soon as Adobe's AIR enters public release. This according to EffectiveUI President Anthony Franco, who spoke with BetaNews at this week's OnMedia NYC conference in Manhattan.

Designed to let end users shop, sell, search, buy, and get real-time alerts on their desktops instead of inside their browsers, eBay Desktop recently won two awards from Adobe -- People's Choice and Best Rich Internet Application -- for eBay and EffectiveUI.

The upcoming free software is also designed to simplify user tasks, "optimize rich media," and allow sellers to test the usability of their eBay ads, for example, according to Franco.

BetaNews got its first peek at the prototype eBay console last March, when Adobe showed it off as one of its first working demonstrations of the platform then known by its code name, "Apollo."

AIR-based applications such as eBay Desktop enable "occasionally connected use, customized content views, and a branded experience that can act as a platform for closer relationships with customers," says a recent report by Forrester Research.

How did eBay Desktop originate? "eBay contacted looking for help with their user interface, and Adobe referred them to EffectiveUI," Franco told BetaNews.

First established about five years ago as an Adobe Flash development house employing a small handful of people, EffectiveUI now has a staff of several dozen.

Aside from eBay, other big customers have included Yahoo, NBC, Random House, Harley-Davison, and Yahoo.

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