Devices Events Flash Flash Lite Mobile & Devices News

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.

Devices Flash Flash Lite Mobile & Devices News

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.”


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.

ActionScript Devices Flash Flash Lite Mobile & Devices

Flash Lite 2.0 Nokia S60 Template

Here is a Flash Lite 2.0 template for the Nokia S60 series. Yesterday‘s release doesn’t seem to include this template.

Place it in the “ConfigurationTemplatesGlobal Phones” directory.

For Windows, the default English location is:
C:Program FilesMacromediaFlash 8enConfigurationTemplatesGlobal Phones

For Mac OS X, put the file here:
/Applications/Macromedia Flash 8/Configuration/Templates/Global Phones/

Download it here:

When this is installed, you can choose it from Global Phones in the Start Page.

Devices Flash Flash Lite Mobile & Devices

I’m in – Flash Lite 2.0 & Flash Player SDK 7

Not your regular Flash Lite. No more Flash 4 syntax. These are totally new versions of Flash for mobile devices that is going to change the way developers work. In fact, what’s more important is they are changing the whole mobile experience for end-users.

Flash Lite 2.0 is a completely new platform for non-PC devices, including mobile phones and consumer electronics. For example, the latest Nokia S60 platform is well supported.

According to this Adobe press release, the number of mobile devices running Flash now reaches 45 million units – a huge jump from twelve months ago. Some of the largest manufacturers such as Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and Kodak are now shipping Flash-enabled devices. Flash Lite 2.0 devices are expected to be available later this year.

This is the moment to start developing in Flash Lite 2.0 ready for the upcoming market. Of course, there is still a large number of devices with Flash Lite 1.1, such as the iRiver U10 and many Nokia S60 phones. However, developing for Flash Lite 1.1 is really not very pleasant, because it uses the obsolete Flash 4 syntax and is quite limiting compared to this new release.

For those who came to my presentation on Flash Lite and mobile development, I showed a Nokia 6680 smartphone and a O2 XDA IIs Windows Mobile PDA phone. Today’s announcements provide new players for these devices and more, and let developers use ActionScript 2.0 (or 1.0). Many device manufacturers are bundling the new Flash Lite player in upcoming devices. However, until there is a wide distribution of the new Flash Lite 2.0 player, some developers may have to find a balance between ease of development and market penetration. For me, there is no going back to Flash 4 syntax!

The other announcement today is the Flash Player SDK 7. It is targeted for device manufacturers such as Pocket PCs, consumer electronics, system integrators, and browser companies. As the name implies, this is a software development kit based on Flash Player 7; so ActionScript 2.0 is fully supported. Imagine a Linux-based device running a custom browser that supports Flash content, or a game console that has native Flash support (without hacking). These are just some of the scenarios where the SDK can be useful.

What does all this mean for developers? Well, I guess that depends on what kind of developers we’re talking about. For J2ME developers, there is now another choice to rapidly development rich-UI content (that has the added benefit of looking much better than standard Java-based software). For Flash developers, this is another market where their skills can be applied, without learning something totally new.

To get started, get the Flash Lite 2.0 update for Flash Professional 8, and download the free (for a limited time only) Flash Lite 2.0 player for a supported mobile phone.

Don’t forget to check out the datasheet for Flash Lite 2.0 and Flash Player SDK 7 on the Flash Lite page, I’m in it (page 2, top right)! Macromedia quoted what I said from a developer’s perspective.


Cool Flash site for a cool gadget

The new LeapFrog Fly Pentop computer is one cool gadget, which is targeted for teens, but will probably appeal to gadget geeks.

The site is done in Flash and has some interesting use of the medium, like transferring the pen to the user, let the user enter date and time and the character in the video uses it, and simulate the actual pen usage…etc.


Screen comparison of PSP, GBA & XDA IIs

One more week before the Sony PSP is available in North America, and I’ve got one to try for an evening! All I can say is wow! The screen is gorgeous; it is big, bright, colorful and sharp! Here are two photos of the O2 XDA IIs, PSP, and Game Boy Advance:

The PSP is a bit heavier than I expected, but the three games I tried all played well. Ridge Racer feels just like a console racing game, except you can play it anywhere.

Only issue seems to be the battery life, which lasts for about 4 hours of game play. Luckily, the battery can be swapped easily, so a spare (or two) would be needed for those long flights.

Did you know that some game interfaces (e.g. some EA games) were created with Flash?


PDA Phones

Currently, I’m looking at a couple of PDA phones, which can be used for email and web browsing. Here are a few options: Motorola MPx (300), O2 XDA IIs, IIi / i-mate PDA2k / MDA III / Audiovox 6600, Blackberry 7100, Danger Hiptop 2/Sidekick II, and PalmOne Treo 650.

Since I’ve been a PDA user from the first (Palm) Pilot, and have been using Pocket PCs for the last couple of years, my preference is a device that is more than just a phone.

Basic requirements: Email access to POP3/IMAP accounts, web browser (preferably supporting JavaScript and latest standards), QWERTY keyboard, auto-sync with Outlook, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, speaker phone.

Nice to have: Quad-band including GSM 850, EDGE, memory slot, VGA screen, MSN Messenger, 1.3 mega-pixel camera, video capture & playback, Flash Player 6 (or Flash Lite) compatible.

Of the nine devices listed, only the Blackberry 7100r is available locally. I checked it out over the weekend, and find it less than what I’m used to in a PPC-based device. Pros: Blackberry push email (although there is only 1 push email account; so other POP3/IMAP accounts have to be forwarded to this one account; decent size and looks like a phone. Cons: Bluetooth only works with headset or car kit, and can’t be used from a computer or for wireless synchronization; keyboard is not true QWERTY; no memory slot; no camera; the Canadian/Rogers version does not have icon-based interface (all text); no Wi-Fi; no EDGE; not many 3rd-party apps; may get addicted like other Blackberry users.

If the O2 XDA IIi or the Motorola MPx is available today, I’ll probably pick one up. Unfortunately, these devices won’t be available until sometime next year, and there’s no end to waiting.

The closest device that is available immediately from online resources is the i-mate PDA2k. This seems like an ideal all-in-one device, covering almost all my basic and nice-to-have requirements. Pros: Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition; slide out keyboard; 128MB RAM; SDIO slot, landscape mode, all the Pocket PC applications (and Flash Player 6), option for voice-command/dialing. Cons: Still using a 400MHz processor (compared to 624MHz in some of the newer devices); QVGA (240×320) screen; VGA / 0.3 mega-pixel camera; no built-in push email; no EDGE; bigger than a regular phone, more expensive than other devices.

The Sidekick II, used by some Macromedians, also got my interest. It isn’t available in Canada yet, and no one seems to know when it’ll become available. It’s not as full-featured as a Pocket PC, but the “big” keyboard, email and IM apps are major selling points. Can’t say much unless I check it out myself.

Mike Downey showed me his Treo 600 and it seems to be a practical device. However, after checking out the specs for the latest Treo 650, it hasn’t changed my mine about Palm OS based devices.

It would be great to hear from current Blackberry, Treo, Sidekick II and i-mate PDA2k / O2 XDA IIs users, and get first-hand opinions…


Updated Flash player for Sony Clie UX50

The new Sony Clie PEG-UX50 has an updated version ( of the Flash Player 5 that supports networking.

According to the Sony site (via Bill Perry), the following models are supporting Flash:

Player version PEG-UX50, PEG-UX40.

Player version PEG-NX60, PEG-NX70V, PEG-NX73, PEG-NX80, PEG-NZ90, PEG-TG50.

I had three generations of Palm Pilots before getting the 1st generation Pocket PC. Now I’m using a third Pocket PC (Dell Axim running Flash Player 6). It’s interesting to see how far the Palm OS has changed, especially in this new Sony model, because it actually is making a come back.

By the way, check out Bill’s article (among other device-related info) at the Macromedia DevNet for devices.