March 29, 2007 7:48 AM PDT

Microsoft's Deepfish a better swimmer of mobile Web?

Microsoft has launched the preview version of Deepfish, a Web-browsing technology for mobile devices that aims to mimic the experience of a full-fledged computer browser.

Deepfish, a downloadable application for smart phones running the Windows Mobile operating system, made its debut on Wednesday at the Emerging Technology Conference, nicknamed ETech, in San Diego. The program enables Web browsing that presents sites as they would appear on a desktop or laptop computer's browser rather than as the stripped-down versions that Web applications for wireless devices typically implement.

Photo of Deepfish on smart phone

When users first navigate to a Web site in Deepfish, they see a thumbnail display of the whole page; as a result, it is likely illegible at first. Deepfish handles this with a "zoom box" feature that enables Windows Mobile users to move in on a selected portion of the page.

Microsoft Labs' blog described Deepfish's goal as "preserving the rich layout and full form of documents on mobile devices while providing novel ways of effectively navigating that content on small screens."

Alternatives to standard mobile Web browsing have been a hot topic among handset users desiring a more computerlike experience, and zoom-in features appear to be the tools with which companies are tackling the issue--at least for now.

Apple's iPhone, with its touch screen zoom capabilities, is arguably the best-known example. Meanwhile, a start-up called ZenZui is using Microsoft Labs-developed technology to create a "zoomable user interface" for mobile browsing.

The Deepfish download is now available in a limited private beta from Microsoft Live Labs. Microsoft considers it a prototype and has not announced any plans for offering a full or more widely available version.

See more CNET content tagged:
Microsoft Windows Mobile, handset, mobile device, Microsoft Corp., Web browser

9 comments

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Another Microsoft lockin
Just checked the site and this requires a dedicated server in the mix to provide the functionality. Also, no support for AJAX, Javascript, Animation, Cookies or even ActiveX services.
Posted by vwgo (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Is it possible..
for this hugh corporation with thousands of employees and billions
of dollars in development funds available to ever invent something,
anything of their own?
Posted by kelgraff (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Is it willful ignorance?
I have no idea what you mean by that comment, but Microsoft creates a plethora of new software all the time. Deepfish is one small example.
Posted by jaytee0 (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
actually you make my point...
by using Deepfish as an example of M$'s type of innovation. They
didn't even concieve of the idea of offering a full page, zoomable
web browser for mobile devices untill Apple offered it on the
iPhone. And even so, their "innovation" is an attempt to suck
developers into coding web pages with a technology that allows
those pages to only show up properly on Windows mobile
products, not to invent something new to make our lives better.
Posted by kelgraff (22 comments )
Link Flag
Innovation??? Ja, Ja
Read the ars techica forum
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://episteme.arstechnica.com/eve/forums?" target="_newWindow">http://episteme.arstechnica.com/eve/forums?</a>
a=tpc&amp;s=50009562&amp;f=174096756&amp;m=78900851
4831&amp;r=789008514831

To see how many previous and working solutions there exist!

And, of course, you can use Safari on the iPhone next June!
Posted by lmasanti (293 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MS immitation is a strategy
How else could they spend so much on R&#38;D and never come up
with an idea on their own?

Or, more likely, making superficially "just-as-good-as" products is
probably the most efficient way to maintain a monopoly.
Posted by Mark Greene (163 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Steve says it best
Ultimately it comes down to taste. It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things in to what you're doing. I mean Picasso had a saying, he said good artists copy, great artists steal. And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas and I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world.

-Steve Jobs (Triumph of the Nerds)
Posted by Siegfried Schtauffen (269 comments )
Link Flag
Why Not Just Enforce W3 conventions?
There is a very simple solution that web designers already deal with for print versions of their websites: simple css tricks let you have various versions for various devices: W3 has a css link mediatype for the small screens of handhelds.

The problem is mobile browers like MS's own Internet Explorer for mobile dev. don't recognize it.

Just as designers do simple tweaks for their "print" css version of their site that makes things 1 column and gets rid o fthe excess junk so that printers will print a nice, clean page - so too are web developers gunning for the same ability for handheld devices - why not let them?

Oh yeah. Because there is nothing for MS to sell or lock customers into.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/types.html#type-media-descriptors" target="_newWindow">http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/types.html#type-media-descriptors</a>
Posted by HelloToCNet (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why Not Just Enforce W3 conventions?
There is a very simple solution that web designers already deal with for print versions of their websites: simple css tricks let you have various versions for various devices: W3 has a css link mediatype for the small screens of handhelds.

&lt;link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" media="screen" href="myscreen.css"/&gt;

&lt;link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" media="print" href="myprint.css"/&gt;

&lt;link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" media="handheld" href="myhandheld.css"/&gt;

The problem is mobile browers like MS's own Internet Explorer for mobile dev. don't recognize it.

Just as designers do simple tweaks for their "print" css version of their site that makes things 1 column and gets rid o fthe excess junk so that printers will print a nice, clean page - so too are web developers gunning for the same ability for handheld devices - why not let them?

Oh yeah. Because there is nothing for MS to sell or lock customers into.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/types.html#type-media-descriptors" target="_newWindow">http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/types.html#type-media-descriptors</a>
Posted by HelloToCNet (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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