Seadragon Mobile: The Microsoft Developed iPhone App
Article by George Norman
On 15 Dec 2008
This weekend, while everybody was enjoying their free time (or slacking off at work with our Featured Office Time Waster Series), Microsoft Live Labs has released a free iPhone app entitled Seadragon. What this app does is it lest you seamlessly go through incredibly large images, and by that I mean pics in the Giga range.

“Want to see giga-pixel images on your iPhone? Now you can--with Seadragon Mobile. 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),” says Windows Live Labs.


For those of you that are not familiar with Microsoft’s Seadragon, here is how the software application works: when you have very large picture file, it is possible to do some considerable zooming in; with Seadragon this is done with almost no transition times. It will also come in handy when you have a large number of image files stored on the device and you need to go through them all. This is something that might come in handy with the iPhone, if you keep in mind that the most attractive feature of the device is its 3.5 inch screen.

Reports have it that Seadragon Mobile works pretty well on the iPhone; it is speedy enough, it has gesture support (pinch in to zoom), and it comes with some built-in collections. As a true Apple fan, the only thing that you might be worried about is the fact that Microsoft is behind this app. Also, why did Microsoft not develop a Seadragon version for Windows Mobile?

Perhaps Group Product Manager for Microsoft Live Labs, Alex Daley can provide an adequate answer to that question: “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.”

If you would like to get the Seadragon for free, a download location is available here.

Tags: Microsoft, Seadragon, Apple, iPhone
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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