Category Archives: Flash Lite

Flash Lite article on Globe and Mail

Globe and Mail

Recently I was interviewed by Canadian national newspaper Globe and Mail writer Denise Deveau on developing for mobile devices in Flash Lite, the article talks about the current status of mobile development, and why developers are moving to Flash Lite.

The article is a good read for the general public (it’s under the Business : Innovation section). Some key points to take away:

  • Flash Lite is likely to change the user experience on mobile devices, like it did to the webspace.
  • Flash Lite can change the look and feel of mobile user-interface, applications and games, making them more fun and easer to use.
  • It is a great channel to apply one’s creative spirit.
  • Unlike countries such as Japan where Flash on mobile is extremely common, it may take 18 to 24 months for Flash to be adopted significantly on mobile phones in North America.
  • Many developers are betting on Flash for mobile devices

As I was away on a trip in Asia (after speaking at the Adobe MAX conference in Seoul on mobile development), the interview was done over several email at around 1 am local time, and ended abruptly when I left the computer and went to sleep. Hope what I said makes sense!

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Adobe MAX Seoul

Today is the first day of the Adobe MAX conference in Seoul. It’s great to talk to local mobile developers, and checking out some local mobile devices.

For example, Samsung has a Windows Mobile slider phone, which has a touch screen and a tiny antenna that receives digital satellite TV. The video quality is really good as it is all digital signal. It runs on the standard Windows Mobile system, so Flash Lite 2.1 is also available. I was told it is free to watch TV on the mobile phone.

Samsung phone with satellite TV

It’s great to be back in Asia. Getting to hang out with the usual crowd and meeting new people are always good reasons for going to these conferences. I think there are over 1000 attendees, coming for the two-day event.

My presentation on “Connecting to External Data Services” (for Flash Lite) is on tomorrow. There’s a speaker dinner tonight, and I’m looking forward to the traditional Korea dinner.

Last night, a couple of speakers went out for a late dinner at a nearby Japanese restaurant. The food was really good!

Dinner
Geoff Lillemon, Jared Tarbell, Rob Chiu, Craig Swann, Mario Klingemann

Dinner
Erik Natzke, Tobey, Geoff Lillemon, Jared Tarbell

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Adobe MAX, Seoul, Hong Kong and Shanghai

Adobe MAX

Thought I should update the blog about my upcoming trip to Asia, specifically to Seoul, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. Adobe invited me to speak at the APAC MAX conference in Seoul (Nov 14-15), on mobile Flash development.

The topic of my presentation is “Connecting to External Data Services”. I’ve seen the same topic at other MAX conferences by other speakers, but haven’t attended any of them; so it would be interesting to see how each speaker approaches the same topic. Here is the description of my presentation:

“Explore the process in developing Flash Lite 2 applications that connect to external live data and multimedia assets. View examples of XML/RSS, images, video, and light-weight transitions designed for mobile devices. See how object-oriented ActionScript 2.0 code segments bring these applications to life.”

Speaking at the Seoul conference should be an interesting experience, as I don’t read or speak Korean. There will be live translation during my presentation though. Another first for me is the length of the presentation – it’s 80 minutes long! Although I’ve done a back-to-back repeat presentation at the first FITC (2 hours total), this will be the longest single presentation I’ve done.

On a personal note, I’m very interested to see the latest mobile devices in Asia, and learn about the mobile culture there. Of course, it would be my pleasure to meet other Flash developers and designers in all three cities too.

In case anyone is wondering my whereabouts, I’ll be in Seoul from Nov 11 to 16. Hong Kong from Nov 16-22, Shanghai from Nov 22-26, and back to Hong Kong from Nov 26-Dec 4. Should have broadband internet access in all three cities, so business as usual (except I’ll be in a tourist mood)!

P.S. Picked up a Vonage V-Phone, even though I already have a VoIP line (along with my regular landline). Reason is simple, no bulky phone adaptor and handset to pack, it’s just a small memory stick with some circuits. Cool gadget for travelers to keep in touch with folks back home!

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Nokia launches new N-Series ‘multimedia computers’

At the Nokia Open Studio that is going on right now, Nokia is officially announcing new phones, or as they refer to them, multimedia computers. “Convergence without compromise” is the slogan for the new N-Series devices, including the N95 (PDF) and N75 (PDF) (where are the N83 and N81?). Also announced are music editions of previously released devices including: N70, N73, and N91 8GB.

Here are some of the new features of the N95: Flash Lite 2.0*, HSDPA (3.5G broadband speed starting at 1-2 Mbps, up to 10Mbps), GPS with maps, 5 megapixel camera, 3.5mm audio jack, dual sliders, 3D stereo effect, music recommendations, FOTA (update firmware over-the-air)… This device will ship during the Q1 2007 at 550 euros.

N95:

Nokia N95
Nokia N95
Nokia N95
Nokia N95

N75:

Nokia N75
Nokia N75
Nokia N75

More info can be found from the Press Releases, as well as sites such as All About Symbian.

Oh, I got a N73 recently for S60 3rd edition development (the 6680 is great for 2nd edition development, including Flash Lite 1.1 & 2.x). More on that later…

Update: The discussion panel is now talking about comparing these Nokia devices with the iPod, and if Apple releases the iPhone.

It’s about experience – e.g. Getting contact address and have the GPS maps it out for direction.

Check out the photos for the N95 and N75.

* Update 2: According to the specs, only Flash Lite 1.1 comes with the N95; however, I’ve read from somewhere that it is Flash Lite 2. Can anyone confirm?

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Nokia audio & video capabilities

Was trying to encode some MPEG-4 video for Nokia S60 3rd edition phones, and found this Nokia tech page that lists audio and video streaming capabilities for various phones.

For the N73, the following settings seem to work well when encoding video in SUPER ©.

Video:

  • 320×240
  • H.264/AVC
  • 384kbps max data rate
  • 15fps

Audio:

  • AAC stereo
  • 64kbps
  • 22050KHz

This is for local viewing from memory card, not streaming over-the-air; although this setting should work with WCDMA or faster connections.

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Nokia 6131 with Flash Lite

My mom bought a Nokia 6131 phone, and it was a nice surprise to see Flash Lite already installed. The version of this player is 5.4.102.5, which is Flash Lite 1.1. The phone itself is a S40 3rd edition device, and it’s a nice and compact phone for the general consumer.

I tested a couple of Flash Lite 1.1 games and applications, and they all work. Because this phone’s screen resolution is 240×320, most Flash Lite content are scaled to full screen but are not taking advantage of the higher resolution.

What is also nice is not only standalone Flash Lite content are supported, this phone also supports Flash Lite as screensaver, wallpaper, and for the external (smaller) LCD screen.

Not bad for a Cdn$360 quad-band phone.

Check out other Nokia S40 devices with Flash Lite, or the other Flash Lite handsets from Adobe.

Update:

There are two Flash Lite files that I found: A Sudoku game, and an animated introduction to the phone.

The Nokia Catalog application even lists Flash content, even though there are only two clocks that are available for download. It’s a good sign that Flash content is now listed under the catalog.

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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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Want to chat about mobile development?

Here’s a chance to meet face-to-face with other Flash Lite developers, and talk about making things for mobile devices.

At this year’s Flash in the Can festival, I’ll be one of the panelists for It’s A Mobile World: Build It and They Will Call (I didn’t make up that title). Bill Perry (from Adobe) and Scott Janousek will also be there, and I believe others will be joining us in this panel discussion.

This year’s speaker list is the longest I’ve seen, with people coming in from all over the world, to the city where I live. There is even a student scholarship program to attend the festival for free.

Check it out.

April 13 Update: Bill Perry won’t be able to make it to FITC; instead, James Talbot (also from Adobe) will be there. And Gabe Sawhney will be joining the panel as well.

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Forum Nokia PRO: Flash Zone

For Flash Lite developers: New zone at Forum Nokia PRO is formed. Check out the benefits. Notice the word ‘pro’ is all caps; I guess that means for real professionals only – with a membership fee of 4000 Euros (just a little over US$5000), per year.

Don’t worry though, because “Forum Nokia PRO program and its services are targeted for the most visionary mobile developers, not all (membership) applications can be approved.”

Okay.

According to Adobe, there are now over one million Flash developers around the world. How many are Flash Lite developers? How many companies would pay 4000 Euros a year to join this zone when there are various other sources of information, and Adobe labs.

The Flash developer community is rather unique, compared to other developer communities I’ve been in. I believe this is because it is a mix of creative and technical people, achieving innovation on web design, application design, and now mobile design. The openness and sharing of open source material helps this community grow.

Personally, I’d love to be part of this forum, except I can’t see how to justify the entry fee.

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