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Microsoft “zooming user interface” for Windows Mobile

Zumobi says Microsoft has agreed to distribute its new “zooming user interface and mobile widget platform” with Windows Mobile. Originally developed by Microsoft Research, Zumobi runs on Windows Mobile 5 and 6 smartphones, according to the company.

Zumobi was known as “ZenZui” when the product and the company of the same name were spun off from Microsoft in March 2007. Zumobi the product was subsequently released as a public beta in December.

Zumobi is positioned as an alternative to traditional Web browsers for mobile phones. It aims to help mobile phone and device users discover and consume Web-based content.

The Zumobi interface displays up to 16 different “tiles” per screen, allowing users to “snack on content,” according to the company. Users determine what site appears in each tile, and they can send tiles to each other.

Zumobi says its back-end servers are constantly updating the websites associated with the content behind each tile. This means that sites load instantly, the company claims, and can be used even when wireless coverage is lacking.

According to Zumobi, its user interface is based on many years of human-computer interaction (HCI) research. The UI reportedly adjusts to different devices and modalities, such as portrait, landscape, numeric keypad, touchscreen, mini-QWERTY, or traditional up/down/left/right navigational controls.

The software and underlying service will be advertising-supported and remain free to the user, the company says. More than 75 tiles will reportedly be available, many from Zumobi launch partners such as Amazon.com, MTV Networks, The Associated Press, AccuWeather.com, Traffic.com, and FlightStats.com.

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Microsoft, Windows Mobile, Mobile Device, Windows Mobile Device, Windows Mobile Phone, Zumobi, ZenZui, Zoon, Zooming, UI, User Interface

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