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Microsoft Plunges Into Mobile Browsing With Deepfish

By Tim Gray
Mar 29, 2007 1:56 PM PT

Microsoft unveiled a new mobile Web browser designed to make navigating the Internet on wireless devices as easy and clear as surfing on a PC.

Microsoft Plunges Into Mobile Browsing With Deepfish

The new browser, dubbed Deepfish, is the latest entry in the growing mobile browser wars designed for delivering content such as Web pages to Windows Mobile devices.

Microsoft Live Labs, which announced the browser at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in San Diego, described it as a "lightweight client application that leverages server-side technology to deliver content."

Clear Content

That content is displayed "in a familiar desktop format that requires no additional work by the content or site author," according to the company.

Users are able to zoom in on the part of the page they want to read or click on.

Microsoft says Deepfish stands apart from other mobile browsers because it does not use a single-column format that reformats existing Web pages by repositioning content to fit the limited screen size.

Technological Improvements

Mobile Web browsers using single columns often crunch the page to fit the screen, distorting the original images and leading to constant scrolling to use the portions of the page they want to reach, Mukul Krishna, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan, told TechNewsWorld.

"It also does not present the page the way it was originally designed," he said.

There are plenty of issues stopping widespread adoption of the browsers through mobile devices, including lack of reliable battery power to run longer content, Krishna added. There are also more technical issues, such bit rates and frame rates.

"As mobile gets progressively better, the technology will improve -- but there is a danger of making these devices too complex," he noted, adding, "It will never replace the PC."

Mobile Experience

Web page zooming technology is becoming an important feature with the latest mobile devices. Apple's iPhone has a similar system for its Safari mobile browser. The Microsoft-backed firm ZenZui has also developed mobile software.

Microsoft seems keenly interested in making the Web browsing experience on mobile devices more intuitive for users. Deepfish appears similar to work of the latest company to be funded by Microsoft's IP venture, ZenZui.

The free ZenZui application, which will be available later this year, will enable users to customize their experience by choosing a lineup of "tiles" or clickable squares from a different ZenZui partner sites.

Limited Edition

Deepfish is available on a first-come, first-served basis, Microsoft said. The company will close access once downloads reach a certain, unspecified number.

The downloads are available from the Microsoft Live Labs Web site.

Deepfish is currently a prototype technology, and Microsoft has not said when it will be made widely available.


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