updated 10:55 am EDT, Thu March 29, 2007
Microsoft Deepfish Browser
Microsoft today issued a response to the iPhone's mobile version of Safari with Deepfish, the codename for a new technology designed for Windows Mobile 5 or 6 smartphones to provide a more desktop-like web browser experience. The software automatically creates a complete image of a website, preserving the formatting intended by its creator; instead of using a touchscreen, however, the Microsoft-developed component uses the joystick or keypad to guide a selection box over an area to zoom in for a closer view of an image or text. Pressing the select button on the phone again lets the user switch between dynamic elements such as hyperlinks and text forms.
Deepfish is currently available for free only on a first-come, first-serve limited public beta, Microsoft says: when an unspecified limit is reached, downloads of the test version will stop for the foreseeable future. The company hasn't revealed if and when it expects to release a final version.
Though characterized as a "great opportunity for innovation" by Microsoft, the technology is extremely close in spirit to the full-screen web app developed by Apple for the iPhone, which relies exclusively on finger taps to zoom into and launch individual page components. The primary changes beyond the physical input method include hiding the address bar in a menu and offering more advanced options such as clearing the browser's file cache.