Microsoft Comes to the iPhone

It appears that a Microsoft has finally come to the iPhone. The company's Live Labs team has developed a mobile image-browsing tool called Seadragon Mobile. The free application allows users to "infinitely zoom" on even the largest pictures with nearly zero transition time. By storing images at multiple resolutions in "the cloud" and presenting only the necessary pixels at a time, the app sidesteps the usual bandwidth and image size constraints.

Seadragon is the core of Microsoft's Photosynth photo-browsing software. Photosynth takes dozens of user images and merges them into a '3D' landscape, and when combined with Seadragon, users can quickly and intuitively sort through large quantities of images.

The mobile application adapts the Seadragon capabilities to run from the touch interface of the iPhone. From the site: Seadragon Mobile brings the same smooth image browsing you get on the PC to the mobile platform. Get super-close in on a map or photo, with just a few pinches or taps of your finger. Browse an entire collection of photos from a single screen. You can browse Deep Zoom Images that you can create from your own pictures or your Photosynth collection (or anybody else's).

Ironically, the Seadragon Mobile app has no planned release for Microsoft's own Windows Mobile platform. While the iPhone directly competes with the Windows Mobile, it presented an optimal test bed for their future designs in the mobile realm. Alex Daley, group product manager for Microsoft Live Labs, said, "The iPhone is the most widely distributed phone with a (graphics processing unit), most phones out today don’t have accelerated graphics in them The iPhone does and so it enabled us to do something that has been previously difficult to do. I couldn’t just pick up a Blackberry or a Nokia off the shelf and build Seadragon for it without GPU support."

Check out the demo here: