Microsoft spinoff opens mobile beta

ZenZui, a Microsoft Research spinoff, is changing its name and introducing a public beta of its mobile phone browser interface.

A Microsoft spinoff plans to release an open beta of a new mobile browsing user interface in mid-December.

ZenZui, the Seattle spinoff, was also set to announce it is changing its name to Zumobi.

Zumobi is offering a piece of software, currently only compatible with Windows Mobile phones, that works in connection with a back-end server and is designed to make mobile Internet use easier. The user interface is made up of 16 tiles on which users can easily zoom in and out. Each tile represents a Web page.

Zumobi's back-end servers are constantly updating the Web sites on the phone, so a user doesn't have to wait for the site to load after they click the tile. Users determine what site appears in each tile, and they can send tiles to each other.

The service will be free for end users--except for related mobile data network usage--and advertising supported. Advertisers could sponsor specific tiles that might offer information users might want, such as traffic updates. If an operator pre-loads the software onto phones, the operator gets a cut of the advertising revenue.

Zumobi hopes to make the client available to many other types of phones, with the Research in Motion BlackBerry next in line and expected in the second quarter of 2008, said John SanGiovanni, co-founder and vice president of product and services for Zumobi. He recognizes that the advertising proposition is much more compelling if Zumobi is available on a wide array of handsets, but the company decided to focus on one phone at first to make the service very solid, he said.

The iPhone is also quite high on Zumobi's list, but the company doesn't want to officially say it will build a client for the phone until it sees the iPhone developer kit, which comes out next year. "This is about how you snack on content," he said. "So in that sense we think iPhone users will love Zumobi."

Zumobi is designed to be able to work on a wide variety of hardware, including phones that have touch screens, numeric keypads and full keyboards and that operate in landscape or portrait modes.

Starting December 14, Windows Mobile users can visit Zumobi's Web site to register for the beta. Users will be able to download the software directly to their phones.

The introduction of the public beta follows a closed trial that the company conducted starting in April with select content partners and operators.

SanGiovanni worked on the technology behind Zumobi while at Microsoft Research. He helped separate Zumobi out of Microsoft and into an independent company earlier this year.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?