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Microsoft Launches iPhone App

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Microsoft Live Labs has released Seadragon Mobile, Microsoft's first application developed for the iPhone platform. Seadragon is an image viewer incorporating Microsoft's Deep Zoom functionality, allowing efficient display and manipulation of high-resolution imagery. Seadragon is available for free in the iTunes App Store.Seadragon Mobile

Seadragon is the core technology of Microsoft's Photosynth photo-browsing program. It is designed for "zooming smoothly in, out and around photos over the Internet, regardless of bandwidth constraints or image size." Seadragon accomplishes this through storing images in multiple resolutions and delivering only the bits needed to present the current view to the user.

The objective of Seadragon Mobile is to let users of mobile devices flip through large image collectionns and view massively large images. Ideal usages are for viewing high resolution photos or wall-sized displays. Initial reviews of the app have been mostly positive, but there have been some complaints of speed. Seadragon Mobile comes with a collection of sample images, some up to 10 gigapixels, and it allows users to add custom Deep Zoom content, a Photosynth user feed, or any RSS image feed.

Alex Daley, group product manager for Microsoft Live Labs, said the Seadragon team wants to make sure the technology works well on everything from a wall-sized display to a mobile device. (source: Seattle TechFlash)

"The iPhone is the most widely distributed phone with a GPU. 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. ...
It should give you an idea about the power of multi-resolution image formats when you combine them with an inherently multi-resolution interface. The iPhone uses the zoom as one of its core interaction metaphors, and when you couple that with inherently zoomable content, it’s very a pleasing experience."

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