Microsoft Seadragon for iPhone Worth a Look

Microsoft's first iPhone application is worth a look despite some early bugs.

David Martin
David Martin has more than 20 years of experience in the industry as a programmer, systems and business analyst, author, and consultant.
David Martin

Microsoft Live Labs recently released its first application designed and built for the Apple iPhone. The app, named Seadragon is available now, for free (iTunes link). Microsoft calls the app its "first mobile version to see graphics and photos on your iPhone in greater detail than ever before."

A video demonstration of the app is available here and worth a look. (Microsoft Silverlight required to view).

The app allows users to browse hi-resolution images and Photosynth collections from the iPhones touch screen. You can also view PhotoZoom and Deep Zoom Composer created images. It has been designed to work best over 3G or Wi-Fi network connections according to Microsoft. Photosynth is a Microsoft technology that allows users to stitch together digital photos into a 3D panorama. Think of it as a collage on steroids.

Unfortunately the initial release of the app was wrecked by a serious bug: browsing Photosynth libraries was broken. You can search for Photosynth projects and adding users with their own creations made available for you to view their Synths, but that is it. Microsoft hopes to have an updated version that fixes this bug within a week. In the meantime, a less-than-satisfactory workaround is available. This involves manually entering a rather awkward and lengthy URL via an RSS feed.

In August, Microsoft had problems with the release of Photosynth, their free photo stitching tool. That application was unable to meet the demand placed on it by end users.