Microsoft’s first iPhone app, yes Microsoft !

Given the popularity of the iPhone, this was bound to happen sometime, and here it is: Microsoft Live Labs today becomes the first group inside the Redmond company to release an application for Apple’s mobile phone.
Seadragon Mobile, published to the App Store this afternoon, is a free demonstration program meant to test the viability of the high-tech Seadragon photo-display technology on mobile platforms.
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.
"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."
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.
Previously, the speculation had been that Microsoft’s Tellme voice-recognition service would be the first technology from the Redmond company to be offered for the iPhone, but that app isn’t expected until next year.
There are signs that more Microsoft groups may also be interested in iPhone app development, with David Geller of Eyejot commenting yesterday on TechFlash about the "large number" of Microsofties attending a recent Seattle-area iPhone developers group meeting. Continue at source

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