Microsoft Menlo project uncovered

A previously undisclosed Microsoft Research project, dubbed "Menlo", has been revealed today as a prototype mobile phone and operating system.

Previously thought to be a tablet computer, the so-called Menlo project now looks to be a prototype mobile project based around user experiences with navigation on mobile devices. The evidence, which was discovered in a research paper entitled "User Experiences with Activity-Based Navigation on Mobile Devices" by ZDNet's Mary-Jo Foley, labels the Menlo device as being a "prototype" with a "touch screen" and of all things a "barometer".

"Menlo is a prototype mobile device with a capacitive touch screen (4.1‖ diagonal, 800x480) running Microsoft Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2 which incorporates a Bosch BMA150 3-axis accelerometer and Bosch BMP085 digital pressure sensor (barometer)," the paper suggests.

While it's unlikely the "Menlo" project will ever become publicly available, it seems the device has been designed with a focus on testing a new Silverlight-based prototype application called "Greenfield", which allows users to find a parked car.

"To explore activity-based navigation we designed Greenfield, an application that provides an activity-based trail to a parked car," the description within the paper reads.

"This is useful both in situations where one has lost one's car and needs to find it, but also in finding a car parked by someone else, e.g. a private car parked by another family member, or a shared business vehicle."

Foley suggests Microsoft could still be developing a new mobile operating system (aside from the upcoming Windows Phone 7) that could run on a "variety of processors".

Microsoft Menlo

Microsoft Menlo device (Image Credit: Microsoft Research Paper)

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