No, your eyes aren’t kidding you. That really is the processor-shredding Second Life virtual world running on an iPhone. But how? And why is it so slow? Well, the answer is that it’s a concept demo produced by mobile technology firm Comverse.
In a layman’s nutshell, all the processing is being done NOT on the iPhone, on a central server. All that’s being streamed to the iPhone is the visuals – essentially, a video feed of the Second Life environment. Then, when you tap the on-screen buttons to move, or type in a message, that’s sent back up to the server for processing.
So, it’s not a Second Life client on the iPhone – it’s just streaming Safari-friendly video of your SL session, with you able to send your commands back in the other direction. That’s why it’s this sluggish at the moment, because you’re one step removed.
Still, as a proof of concept, it’s pretty impressive – you wouldn’t want to spend long periods of time in a virtual world using this, but if you just wanted a quick fix on the move, or to log in to check something, it works.
Comverse says it could just as easily work for World Of Warcraft or other MMOs, rather than just virtual worlds, although I’d argue that it’s more suitable for sedate virtual worlds than for action-heavy MMOs, due to that lag.
Find more mobile news in our Mobile World Congress 2008 category