Quick App: Microsoft Labs Seadragon Mobile for iPhone

Microsoft has just unleashed their first iPhone app! And no, it's not Office. Or an Xbox gamer tag list. Or a Live Mesh client. Now, we make fun of our frenemies from Redmond plenty plenty, but as much as the regular Microsoft platform and services groups and their un-branding serve up humor-fodder galore, the Windows Labs team just make really cool technology previews. Take Microsoft Labs' Seadragon Mobile for iPhone (iTunes link). It leverages their deep zooming Photosynth technology to let you explore huge amounts of massive (think gigapixel) images quickly, and then zoom in for detailed, closer looks.

The regular version uses Silverlight, which is Microsoft's web-deployment of .Net (as opposed to Air which is Adobe's client-side Flash environment -- confusing, we know), but since the iPhone doesn't support either of those interpreter bases, we get something pretty amazing: a native code iPhone app from Microsoft.

Playing around with a little, it seems snappy enough and render speeds while slow on 3G, are astounding given the amount of data that must be sitting behind the Seadragon curtain.

Have you given it a go yet? How's it working for you?

(Thanks to Marcol for the tip!)

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.