ZenZui Zooms In on Cell Phone Screens

Seattle-based start up ZenZui, which is funded by Microsoft’s technology research arm IP Ventures, has licensed a new “zoomable user interface” aimed at improving Web access via mobile devices.

When running on a mobile phone screen, ZenZui displays Web content as several onscreen “tiles,” which initially show only the logos of sites that are interesting to users. As they zoom in, they can get more detailed information until they are viewing information from a single source.

Tiled User Interface

“Viewing Web sites on a mobile phone is very difficult right now,” Laura DiDio, an analyst with the Yankee Group, told TechNewsWorld. “Even with a high level of bandwidth it is an awkward experience.”

However, ZenZui technology is expected to ease the tough process of loading standard Web content onto a mobile device’s screen.

ZenZui has partnered with a handful of content providers as part of a trial of the service, including ABC.com, Kayak.com and Amazon.

Content providers and site operators will have the ability to reach more mobile device users with ZenZui and to create deals that either depends on transactions or ad support.

Mobile Entertainment

The company’s early trials come as the use of cell phones for entertainment and commerce is on the rise, offering new opportunities for advertisers to reach consumers and for wireless carriers to reap added revenue.

“Our IP Ventures program opens the door for businesses of all sizes to access the work of world-class research teams, then use that access and innovation to rapidly bring new products to market,” Dan’l Lewin, corporate vice president of Strategic and Emerging Business Development at Microsoft, said.

Clickable Content

The free ZenZui application, which will be available later this year, will enable users to customize their experience by choosing a lineup of “tiles” or clickable squares from a different ZenZui partner sites.

The Microsoft technology that ZenZui is leveraging was originally called LaunchTile and is among those Microsoft in 2005 said would license to start ups.

IP Ventures is a program created in May 2005 to commercialize smaller projects born of research at Microsoft.

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