The New 'face of Microsoft

NOON -- 2007 is shaping up to be the year where we get to see some major strides in user interface design for cellphones and other mobile devices.

Already, we've seen Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s touch-screen iPhone and Alltel Corp. (NYSE: AT)'s Celltop multi-window setup for its phones. Now Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) has jumped into the ring with the launch of ZenZui, an independent company funded by Microsoft IP Ventures.

ZenZui's first software is the "Zooming User Interface," a technology patented by Microsoft, initially developed by the Microsoft Research lab in Redmond, Wash. The interface, which looks most similar to Alltel's Celltop, allows the users to customize up to 36 individual “tiles” that they can flip between and get updated in real time.

Microsoft hasn't said much about when this interface might appear on phones yet. You can, however, catch a glimpse of it here.

All this work around new ways to display and deliver stuff on your phone can only be good for the users. Seems like we've been waiting too long for some fresh thinking on the cellphone GUI.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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