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Microsoft Silverlight Mobile coming to Nokia, wakeup Adobe!

microsoft_silverlight_cWOW, Nokia and Microsoft getting together to put Silverlight on Nokia devices. This includes Nokia S60, S40 and Tablet (Maemo) devices. Thats really cool!

Nokia’s official press release is here.

Here are some notable excerpts from deferent sources:

The expectation is that Silverlight will be embedded on new Nokia devices and downloadable to those already in the market.

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At MIX, Nokia will demonstrate Silverlight applications on its Series 60 and Series 40 handsets, and announce a beta program for its runtime. Phones with Silverlight should be on sale from the end of this year.

Microsoft will be developing a portability kit so Nokia can port Silverlight from the desktop to its mobile platform; that kit eventually will be available to other handset providers as well, Honeybone said.

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Microsoft chose to work with Nokia because it has the largest market share of mobile phones, but it will sign on with other handset makers to create ports of Silverlight, Case said.

All the main features of Silverlight, including video and interactive Web application development, will be included in all mobile versions.

But there will be some device-specific restraints, which means Microsoft will create editions of Silverlight for different mobile platforms, he said.

^ view source

Support for S40 platform is great move. So, Nokia making Silverlight to their own proprietary S40 platform means other companies can do it as well = more number of devices from mid-level to high-end smartphones.

Microsoft is now looking quite aggressive with Silverlight strategy, which is a good sign. Its always good to have competition.

My thoughts about Flash Lite and Silverlight Mobile

Adobe Flash Lite is here for long time, but it has been moving forward really slow. We have seen three updates to Flash Lite from 2003, but all the updates focused on performance and memory management, except from Flash Lite 1.x to 2, which added AS1/2 support.

Flash Lite is implemented in deferent modes. Which include wallpaper, screensaver, MMI/Phone menu system (Man Machine Interface, only available to OEMs), and standalone. The standalone implementation is something which offer developers to make applications and casual games, but its very much limited with access to device specific functions, like simple File I/O.

Recently released Flash Lite 3 adds FLV video support, but it adds limitation for application to be local-only or network-only. Applications made for Flash Lite 1.1 and 2 which use network fails silently on Flash Lite 3.

The other limitation is Flash Lite player available from Adobe is for developers “only”. Developers cannot distribute it with their games / applications or suggest users to download from Adobe’s website. They have to wait for a year or so, for devices to come with pre-installed version of Flash Lite that application requires.

Adobe have two big products (Flash Cast and Flash Home) which are based on same Flash Lite technology, but targeted towards mobile operators. Not available to developers, even for development.

For what I see is, Flash Lite standalone was developed to prepare developers for Flash Cast and Flash Home products. Flash Lite does not feature proper pack-and-distribute system, like J2ME, PyS60 and now Nokia’s WRT have. But there are solutions like SWF2Go, to tackle that.

Microsoft is coming from behind, and they have been learning from mistakes Macromedia/Adobe made in past. Silverlight Mobile can learn a lot from J2ME and Adobe’s Flash Lite *experiment*.

In another article, I found that Silverlight will eventually come as offline as well, just like AIR. So, we can expect an offline version of Silverlight Mobile as well.

I’m now waiting for the beta version of Silverlight Mobile *runtime* to see what it have to offer for developers.

This post looks a bit anti-Adobe, but its a fact that I’m a long-time Flash / Flash Lite developer and I hope Adobe could see what I have been trying to highlight here :)

// chall3ng3r //


  1. Hi, you’re aware that all the Nokia devices discussed today already include the Adobe Flash Lite and Flash Player runtimes, right?

    You raise a good point about reconciling the desktop and mobile profiles, and Kevin Lynch has already given guidance that this work is under development.


  2. Hi John,

    Yes, I’m aware of all the available Flash Lite enabled devices. But the only point is that there’re many phones which can be upgraded to latest Flash Lite version. Like most S60 and WinMobile devices. But Adobe does not allow to do so.

    Also since the begining of Flash Lite, Macromedia/Adobe never shown concern about WinMobile based devices. And still, there’s not a single WinMobile device which comes with pre-installed Flash Lite.

    I also don’t call Flash Lite as “runtime” implementation, because it lacks all the runtime features. For example, pack-and-distribute (aka, installer making, like AIR/PyS60/WRT apps), extendability (PyS60 for example, allows to extend via py libs as well as c++ modules) to name a few. I’d ask Adobe to take a look at PyS60 and WRT to see how a proper runtime should be implemented.

    // chall3ng3r //

  3. thanks for sharing your thoughts, it’s good to get honest feedback from the community. soon I’ll be posting more information on my blog.

  4. Thanks Bill.

    // chall3ng3r //

  5. Tasty_Boy says:

    thats a great new!!
    some chance to have it in the next firmwares??

  6. I think so. If MS will allow developers and end-users to download the runtime on existing devices, which support upgrades, it can capture the market rapidly.

    Lets see how MS do this.

    // chall3ng3r //

  7. It would be more shocking if Steve Jobs announce that the iPhone will be going with Silverlight instead of Flash.

  8. Yeah, that would be really shocking.

    // chall3ng3r //

  9. EVVJSK says:

    Any update on Silverlight for Nokia/Symbian? It has been a year since the last announcement. Has this fallen through, been replaced by Adobe Flash, or what. Thanks,

  10. Hi,

    No updates so far. I think MS is waiting for SL to get a bit mature in features, and I’m sure they’re doing lot of optimizations and learning from what FL/J2ME developers were missing. (I hope so :))

    SL2 is in market as release product, and SL3 is in beta, so I think we can expect some updates on SL for mobile soon. I will try to get some feedback from MS guys.

    // chall3ng3r //

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