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Microsoft Labs' Deepfish: iPhone for everyone

Are you waiting to get the iPhone just to use its neat Web browser? Check out Deepfish, a new technology demo from Microsoft Labs.

Microsoft announced Deepfish, a new mobile browsing technology from itslabs group. Deepfish is a small, downloadable application for Windows Smartphone users. The app presents Web content the same way you'd see it on your computer's Web browser. If you've seen the mobile version of Apple's Safari on the upcoming iPhone, then you have an idea of how Deepfish works.

Deepfish is designed like an array of photo thumbnails. To zoom into a section you want to see in more detail, you just select it with a "magnify box" controlled by your phone's directional pad or pointer. If you want to zoom back out, the original version of the page will still be loaded in your phone's memory cache--which should save a considerable amount of time (and data usage).

In our brief hands-on with it today, we noticed a few quirks. It's a little slow, mostly due to Microsoft rerouting each page through its servers for resizing. Also, it won't recolumnize the content like most mobile browsers do, requiring users to scroll back and forth to read anything wider than about a hundred pixels. We'll cut Microsoft some slack since it's just a demo version, but for regular use it's pretty cumbersome.

Deepfish is an important new development in mobile Web browsing and an exciting prospect for people who want to browse on their phones without having to remember mobile addresses, or rely on developers to create mobile versions of their site.

Deepfish is being privately beta test and Microsoft is limiting the amount of downloads to a "first come, first served" basis, so grab it here while you can.

Related: ZenZui announced a zoomable array of mobile content using technology from Microsoft Labs.

Update: Reader Raaden pointed out that ThunderHawkfrom Bitstream does nearly the same thing and also has versions for non-Windows smart phones.