Microsoft finally jumps on iPhone bandwagon

Seadragon Mobile App
Seadragon Mobile App

Microsoft has decided that the battle lines drawn between its own Windows Mobile platform and Apple's iPhone can actually be blurred after the release of its first app for the handset, Seadragon Mobile.

Live Labs developers have come up with an application that allows users to 'deep zoom' into images when online as part of a program to highlight the possibilities of what a mobile handset can do.

It works by storing multiple versions of the images in a variety of resolutions and then only shipping the one that the user needs at the right time, thus bypassing bandwidth constraints.

Seadragon Mobile is a diluted form of Seadragon, the core to Microsoft's Photosynth program, which allows users to stitch their photographic adventures together to create a visual tapestry.

The app was added to the iPhone App Store on Saturday, which we assumed followed many days of the Apple app-vetting team having a good laugh and sending emails to co-workers to tell them about it.

Hardware lacking

But why hasn't it been brought to the Windows Mobile platform yet? Well, according to TechFlash, the hardware just isn't there yet.

"The iPhone is the most widely distributed phone with a (graphics processing unit)," said Alex Daley, Group Product Manager for Microsoft Live Labs.

"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."

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.