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Silverlight announced for Nokia S40/S60 mobile phones (and Internet Devices)

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In the lead up to Mix’08 – Nokia announced last night that they were going to making Silverlight available for their Series 40, Series 60 mobile phones and Internet Tablets  (via Sean Alexanders Blog). Please see here for the press release .  This also means other Series 40/60 licensees (which includes LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Siemens and many more) will also reap the benefits at some time in the future. 

This is quite an interesting (and exciting) development – and hopefully means there’s a commitment to get Silverlight into a whole lot of new devices in the future (I’m really hoping it makes it to some set top boxes / or media players). I’m quite surprised that there wasn’t an announcement yet for Silverlight on Windows Mobile devices (or even Zune or XBox360) – as one would think that Microsoft’s own mobile/pda platform would have been not only a priority – but a far simpler option allowing for a much faster time to market (given that it already runs CF.NET – a more feature rich version of the framework offered in Silverlight 2).

Nokia have mentioned that the first S60 devices with Silverlight will be available ‘late 2008’ and Series 40 + Internet Devices to be available after that (2009?).

There’s a few challenges, caveats and unknowns with the announcement and how it would actually be deployed/usable on the mobile phones – although the press release hints that it will be rolled out/available via the Web Browser. I personally would have liked an option that gave it a 1st class citizen treatment on the device (as non browser hosted standalone apps) – and directly launchable from the devices main menu/display (similar to how J2me Midlets worked – but more directly accessible to end users without all the sub-menus/hoops in between currently found in j2me). Given the extensibility/customization available on Series60 (which is a more complete ‘O/S’ than S40) – it’s probably going to be possible to expose it via shortcuts on the phone’s menus – but unlikely to be the same on S40.  One of the big problems in the past with J2me (apart from the challenging development aspect), was that it was too difficult for consumers to actually find the applications on their phones once they had been installed (and hence they never really took off ‘en masse – despite the capabilities and power offered over standard mobile web browser sites and Flash lite).

Another big issue, and a reason why it might really be 2009/2010 by the time we can actually expect anyone to have Silverlight on their Mobile Phones (and even then it would generally be early adopters only) – is that the runtime needs to be deployed to the phone’s O/S (which generally equals firmware).  This means that users need to purchase brand new phones (once they become available) – update their O/S if possible (if Series 60) – or at bare minimum update their firmwares if such a thing is offered (given the cost/downtime/hassle of this process – which generally involves visiting a phone repair place – it’s a highly unlikely scenario).    

Given that Flash Lite (now at v2.1) – is already available in many of these devices – Silverlight has a lot of catching up to do. (and hopefully it has some success out on the web so that Nokia doesn’t have a change of heart). Given this – I would predict its more likely 2010/2011 timeframe that we’d see Silverlight enabled devices in the hands of an average consumer. (who generally have the less powerful Series40 based devices).

Apart from these above mentioned ‘reality checks’ – it is indeed an exciting announcement – and hopefully means Silverlight is here to stay (and will be taken more seriously out in the real world with a chance of survival).

I’m looking forward to seeing what other Silverlight announcements appear over the next few days at Mix. (and playing with the Beta if that appears as hinted).


Written by mobilewares

March 4, 2008 at 9:16 pm

Posted in Silverlight

One Response

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  1. I was just as excited when I read about the Silverlight mobile support. Unfortunately (for now) it is only Silverlight 1.0, not 2.0 (thus no .Net). See
    There is however support for Windows Mobile as well. See


    March 6, 2008 at 8:36 pm

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