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Silverlight Goes Mobile with Nokia

Posted by Charles | March 4, 2008 .

Nokia today announced plans to make Microsoft Silverlight available for S60 on Symbian OS, the world’s leading smartphone software(1), as well as for Series 40 devices and Nokia Internet tablets.  “Adding support for Silverlight will extend opportunities for developers to create rich, interactive applications that run on multiple platforms in a consistent and reliable way.”

This is a surprise development, even tough there were talks about Nokia will put Microsoft Mobile on its phone. Our sister site N95Pro complained about it awhile ago. At surface adapting Flash Lite makes more sense and Flash mobile platform on Nokia is very popular in Asian. However, as I wrote about many times in the past, Adobe need put more effort on mobile and make Flash Lite a real Flash. So far Flash Lite is only in version 3 and way behind the regular Flash in terms of technology and development tools. We just start hearing Adobe people talking about making Flex for mobile but it’ll be who-knows when. Microsoft, in other hand, wants to invade the RIA space head by head at all fronts, this week:

Microsoft will demonstrate Silverlight on S60 during the opening keyote at Microsoft’s MIX08 conference on March 5 in Las Vegas. Silverlight is intended to be available to S60 developers later this year with initial service delivery anticipated shortly thereafter for all S60 licensees.   This will allow S60 application developers to use an even wider range of development environments for S60 on Symbian OS than today. Today S60 developers can use: C++ (using native Symbian OS APIs and Open C providing subset of standard POSIX libraries), S60 Web Run-time (supporting standards-based web technologies such as Ajax, JavaScript, CSS and HTML), the Java(TM) language, Flash Lite from Adobe, and Python.

If we all believe mobile platform is the future of major computing platform then Silverlight score a big point today. Compound with Silverlight 2.0 release (maybe in Mix08 too), marketing wise it will dilute the impact of releasing Flex 3 and AIR 1.

In the mean while, it raises questions in other area.

How about JavaFX? JavaFX is geared towards mobile and consumer device as well. We haven’t heard any big news yet. The J2ME installation based is quite substantial. JavaFX could easily leverage that platform. But without device makers endorsement, it’ll really up to applications to draw attentions from consumer.

How about iPhone and Android phones? We haven’t heard anything about how iPhone will do with Flash. I don’t think Apple will put Silverlight on it either. Android is different story because it’s wide open. I’m sure Flash will make it there and may it will be the real Flash too. Silverlight? Unless the Android phones take off and consumers like them after this year, I don’t think Microsoft will put too much effort to it. Microsoft is not famous for planting trees, rather, they are good at take low hanging fruits.

Adobe people shouldn’t lack of vision. So, I’m not sure Adobe has enough of resource to push at multiple fronts, development tools and platforms (Flex, AIR, etc.), server (DS LifeCycle, etc.) and mobile. That brings back the good old question, is it due for a big acquisition around Adobe?

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