Category Archives: Flash

Flash Player 10.1 features and demos

As expected, news of the upcoming Flash Player 10.1 has been announced at Adobe MAX conference in L.A. today.

Here are the features in the new version and demos of 10.1 running on two different devices.

Also announced: Google and RIM join the Open Screen Project.

Watch live stream of the Adobe keynote here, and follow MAX news with Adobe MAX Companion.

Flash Builder 4 beta 2 and Flash Catalyst beta 2 are now available at Adobe Labs among a few other new releases.

Flash Player 10.1 for mobile devices is a full version of the Flash Player (i.e. not Flash Lite). Hardware acceleration, multi-touch, accelerometer… are supported.

It seems the last couple of years I spent in mobile Flash development is finally becoming mainstream! It is a nice refreshing change when regular news sites such as the BBC reports about this new Flash Player for mobile devices.

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FITC Mobile – Sneak Peek

Today at FITC Mobile, Mark Doherty from Adobe gave a sneak peek of upcoming Flash mobile.

Cone of Characteristics

The most surprising bit was Flash Lite 4.0. Most developers I talked to thought Flash Lite 3.x is the last version of Flash Lite. As it turns out, FL4 is planned while Flash 10 for devices is also in the making.

According to Mark, Flash Lite 4.0 supports ActionScript 3, and it is a browser plugin (i.e. not standalone player). Same for Flash Player 10 for devices – a browser plugin (in his slide it was showing 10.1 in Device Central 3). AIR for mobile is the standalone player.

Flash Lite 4.0 is for slower, less powerful and memory-constraint devices, and Flash 10 is for more powerful devices, possibly with hardware graphics acceleration.

Mark also shown Device Central 3. It supports some hardware emulation such as accelerometer and geolocation. Custom device profiles can also be created easily in Device Central 3.

Another upcoming tool is SWFPack, a mobile packager (created in AIR) for S60 3rd edition and up, and Windows Mobile 5 & 6. It builds deployment bits (.sis and .cab) for the two platforms with just a few clicks.

Update: Mark clarified that “(Flash Lite 4 is) targeted as a browser plugin and standalone player for brew devices.”

At the Samsung booth, I had the chance to play with the Omnia II (to be released later this year). The 3.7″ AMOLED screen at 480×800 is simply the most beautiful device screen I’ve seen to-date. This phone’s OS is Windows Mobile 6.5, and Samsung has implemented a much nicer UI (TouchWiz 2.0) that reminds me a bit of the Android interface. Overall operation seems quite decent, although I’m not a big fan of the haptic touchscreen. Apparently the Omnia II has 2 CPUs, one for radio frequency, and one for UI and apps. And it has a dedicated graphics accelerator. There was also an Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy. Unfortunately, both phones don’t have the standalone Flash player, but there is supposed to be a “hidden” Flash Lite player without exposed public API for things like widgets.

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Flash on the Beach

Flash on the Beach

Keith Peters leaked the speaker list of Flash on the Beach, to be held from November 4-7 in Brighton, UK. According to the list, I’m one of the confirmed speakers.

Here’s the list so far:

Andries Odendaal
Aral Balkan
Branden Hall
Brendan Dawes
Carlo Blatz
Carlos Ulloa
Carole Guevin
Chris Allen
Chris Orwig
Craig Swann
Dave Williamson
Dave Yang
Erik Natzke
GMUNK (Bradley Grosh)
Grant Skinner
Hillman Curtis
Hoss Gifford
Jim Coudal
Joey Lott
John Grden
Joshua Davis
Keith Peters
Kristin Henry
Lisa Larson
Marcos Weskamp
Mario Klingemann
Michael Ninness
Mike Jones
Neville Brody
Niqui Merret
Renee Constantini
Rich Shupe
Richard Leggett
Rob Chiu
Robert Hodgin
Robert Reinhardt
Seb Lee-Delisle
Tink (Stephen Downs)

Confirm or deny? (Sounds like Apple’s Vista ad…)

[ May 7th update: The Flash on the Beach 2007 site is now live. And I can confirm that I’ll be speaking there this November. Looking forward to it! ]

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FITC, IdN and newspaper interview

To those who are attending this year’s FITC festival, take a look at the IdN booth and the Two Faced exhibition. I wrote some articles for IdN many years ago (in 1993, when it was called MdN – Macintosh Designers Network), and interviewed the President & CEO of Macromedia (Bud Colligan) back then. IdN is very popular in Australia, U.S., Europe and Asia. It’s about time Canada finds out more about this designer magazine and their other publications.

For those who read (traditional) Chinese, here is the Sing Tao newspaper interview of me (楊光) at FITC (click to view full size at Flickr). They asked about my experience, work, this year’s presentation and the festival. I was a bit surprised they used almost 1/3 of the page on this article.

Newspaper article of me at FITC

My presentation is on tomorrow (Tuesday) at 2:45pm. It’s on Flash Lite and mobile development. I invited Dongyub Lee from Seoul to join me to talk about some of his projects on device UI and games development.

Thanks to Shawn Pucknell and the FITC team for another great festival.

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New version of Opera for the Wii

Just finished updating to the latest version of Opera / Internet Channel for the Wii. Nice to see the option to hide the taskbar – now browser content can now go full screen.

A new set of preferences is also added to the browser (e.g. use Google or Yahoo for searching, show/auto-hide/manual hide the taskbar, proxy settings…etc.). One thing I find missing on that screen is an indicator to show up/down scrolling.

Parental control for the browser is also added, although I was expecting more than a general yes/no entry point to the browser. Hopefully some sort of content filtering will be implemented in the future.

Another improvement is easier scrolling using the B button with visual aid of the scroll direction.

Flash developers can now use the whole screen for their apps or games, although the user has the choice to show or hide the taskbar. The extra pixels will certainly be useful.

To get this latest release, make sure to first update the system software and then update Opera from the Shopping Channel. More information can be found in the letter sent to the Wii.

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What a refreshing site!

bascule.co.jp

I love innovative work like this.

While cleaning up some old posts from 2003, I noticed a translation of an old page I wrote on inheritance (back in Flash 5 days) by the folks at Bascule in Japan. Revisiting their site was a nice surprise.

Although the page took awhile to load, the result is worth the wait.

The long page is all Flash with nice sound effects. As one scrolls down the page, different sections are activated when they come into view. Love how they did the video guides from three different locations to their office (wait for loading to finish next to the map), and the “matrix effect” when the guides meet. There are many little surprises along the way – just scroll and explore.

At the bottom of the page, click on the “genie” to literally wrap up the visit. Amazing work!

Check out the Bascule site. I think it’s time to visit Japan again!

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Flash Lite 2 & Flash Player 7 SDK Datasheets

For some reason Adobe uses Flash Paper for the links to the Printable Datasheets for Flash Lite 2 and Flash Player 7 SDK. I knew there are PDF versions of these datasheets because they were sent to me. Doing a search at Adobe.com reveals the PDFs are located here:

Flash Lite 2

Flash Player 7 SDK

The Flash Lite 2 datasheet has been updated since it was first published.

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Another platform to deploy Flash content

At the BREW 2006 Conference two days ago, Adobe announced Flash Lite 2.1 for BREW*, an important milestone since the alliance with Verizon Wireless. Flash Lite 2.1 for BREW offers developers another platform to deploy applications, games, and screensavers.

At the conference, Adobe is showcasing some Flash Lite 2.1 prototype applications developed with a few selected key partners such as The Weather Channel, Smashing Ideas, and Rocket Mobile.

I’m excited to have developed one of these Flash Lite 2.1 prototype applications with one of the key partners, and it is an honor that it is used as a showcase during the launch of a new platform.

For those who know me from the Flash community, I was always an early adopter. Whether it was OOP, design patterns, or other technologies. However, when it comes to Flash Lite, I played with it a long time ago, but hold off when there was only Flash Lite 1.x because of the primitive Flash 4 way of development. With Flash Lite 2 now, it is much easier and more enjoyable to develop rich mobile content in ActionScript 2.0. Building the prototype application using other technologies would be either impossible or very difficult in the tight schedule, with an intuitive UI for rich user experience on mobile phones.

Besides the excitement, Flash Lite 2.1 for BREW is significant for the consumer, mobile operators, content providers, and developers:

First, it offers a simplified way to Flash-enable a (BREW) phone. Unlike the current situation (in which the consumer either buys a phone with Flash Lite built-in, or purchases the Flash Lite Player from Adobe), Flash Lite supported BREW phones from Verizon Wireless will download and install the Flash Lite Player when Flash content is requested (if the Flash Lite Player is not already installed). Second, over-the-air download and installation of Flash content is simpler than manual installation from a computer. Third, mobile operators can charge for data access and purchases of Flash content. And last, which is important for developers, is a simplified way to distribute and sell Flash applications, games, and screensavers.

Currently there are two announced BREW phones that supports Flash Lite 2.1: Samsung SCH-a950 and LG VX9800, both are available from Verizon Wireless in the United States. In Canada, the Samsung SCH-a950 can be found at Telus Mobility.

What is the difference between Flash Lite development for the Nokia (S60) platform vs. the BREW platform? Other than the requirement of being a registered (paying) BREW developer, getting the application certified, and using the BREW AppLoader vs. Nokia’s File Manager to upload files to the phones, there’s really not much difference. A Flash Lite 2 application requires minimal or no change to run on both S60 and BREW, even though the two platforms are quite different. The application I developed runs on both the Samsung SCH-a950 and my Nokia 6680. This is the beauty of Flash Lite.

With Flash Lite 2.1 for BREW, Adobe offers a rapid development platform for BREW and Flash developers. I’m looking forward to create more mobile applications and games, for both Nokia S60 and BREW, as well as other rich internet and desktop applications. Who would have thought that a rich user experience application can be deployed on multiple platforms so seamlessly?

Here are some helpful resources:

* BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless) is a common mobile platform from Qualcomm that is used in many North America CDMA phones.

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