Microsoft eschews Windows Mobile to release first iPhone app: Seadragon Mobile

“Microsoft Live Labs today becomes the first group inside the Redmond company to release an application for Apple’s mobile phone,” Todd Bishop reports for TechFlash. “Seadragon Mobile is a free demonstration program meant to test the viability of the high-tech Seadragon photo-display technology on mobile platforms.”

Bishop reports, “Seadragon is best known as a core technology behind Microsoft’s Photosynth photo-browsing program. It’s designed for zooming smoothly in, out and around photos over the Internet, regardless of bandwidth constraints or image size. Seadragon’s technological trick is to store images in multiple resolutions and deliver only the bits needed to present the view a user wants at any given moment.”

“So why release an iPhone version? 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,” Bishop reports. “‘The iPhone is the most widely distributed phone with a (graphics processing unit),’ Daley explained. ‘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.'”

Bishop reports, “The iPhone presents a dilemma for Microsoft more broadly, because it competes with the mobile phones that use the company’s Windows Mobile operating system.”

MacDailyNews Take: Microsoft’s Windows Mobile “competes” with Apple iPhone as Jabba the Hutt “competes” with Usain Bolt. As in, not much (especially since only one of them actually exists).

Bishop continues, “Seattle-based Seadragon Software was acquired by Microsoft in early 2006.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Cathy V.” and “iWill” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Note: Microsoft’s “Seadragon Mobile” is available via Apple’s iTunes App Store here.


  1. MDN, you’d better be careful if you’re going to allege that Star Wars isn’t real.

    There a lot of people who read this site who probably also hang out at comic book conventions and who think that Klingon is a real language.

  2. Oh and what MikeR said as well.

    MSFT needs to get its marketing messages straight: since the iPhone was launched, it has done nothing but send out snide messages about how poor the platform is. Ditto, iPod, iTunes and – by implication – iPod touch.

    Now why would I buy an app from a company that disparages my choice in portable platform?

  3. So MikeR, just because it’s from MS it won’t get on anything you own? That’s kinda dumb. Now if you actually evaluated it and didn’t like it, that would be a different story.

  4. So how is this Seadragon software supposed to be important? It is the format in which the image is stored that makes the app possible. Does this mean I have to look at a gigapixel image across a wireless connection instead of downloading it in its entirety and viewing all of its pixel awesomeness. This is a problem with Google maps, even though I’ve searched for a location, it won’t store the high res data… which doesn’t help when I’m underground in the subway.

    MW = got. As in, I don’t got it.

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