13 July 2010

Silverlight For Symbian

Silverlight Logo       Symbian Logo

Many were wondering when Silverlight would finally go Mobile. Most thought it would be with Windows Mobile 6.5.3 or with Windows Mobile 7 (A.K.A Windows Phone 7). But no, it went mobile with Symbian. This have left some big blog bloggers scratching their heads and making lame jokes about it.

But if they actually had bothered to make some research before posting or had good long term memory. They would remember that the reason why this happened is because Microsoft signed of a agreement in early 2008 for this effect.  Originally supposed to be fulfilled by the end of 2008 or early 2009.  There was also a actual Silverlight Mobile for Windows Mobile 6+ but it only was for Silverlight 1 level apps and it was scraped silently as it was too weak to bother finishing it, as It really only allowed to make mobile widget apps. Something that WM 6.5 later addressed too, so that could have been the last reason why it never shipped. But i bet that also added to the long delay for the now available Silverlight for Symbian.

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Now for the F.A.Q you may have if you got a Symbian device or you happen to be a Symbian enthusiast.

What Is In It?

Many many things but the most important ones would be:

  • Media: Hardware assisted Media playback of H.264 content. This gives a great media viewing experience using full hardware decode and hardware post processing.

  • IIS Smooth Streaming: Enables users to access live and on demand media content streamed using IIS Smooth Streaming including multiple bit rate switching.

  • Rich UI: Developers get access to the Silverlight V2 surface area to create Rich Interactive Web Applications.

  • .NET Programmability: .NET Compact Framework class libraries and runtime.

What Symbian Devices Are Supported?

Nokia S60 5th Edition devices such as Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia N97 and Nokia N97 Mini

How Do I Can Develop For It?

You can create Silverlight-based applications for devices by using Expression Blend 2 (free trial version), Visual Web Developer 2008 Express with SP1, or Visual Studio 2008 SP1 with Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio 2008 SP1. Application deployment on IIS is supported in this release.

Getting Started

In order to get started with Silverlight for Symbian, you will want to familiarize yourself with the platform capabilities. The following resources are available to developers:

Why Should I Care?

  • 1.-It gives you the option to have more content via your mobile web browser without any friction for you.
  • 2.-It also give you the chance to have more apps in your device made with silverlight for symbian that will be easier to install and uninstall.

Why Microsoft Is Being Friendly With Nokia All Of A Sudden?

It was no sudden at all. It all started back in 2007 with some undisclosed deals and then it continued in 2008 when Microsoft made available Windows Live for Nokia.

This year (2010) there was also the release of Bing, Communicator for Nokia and now Symbian for Mobile.

Things still left in the pipeline are a Office 2010 offering of some kind and a update for Windows Live for Nokia.

As to the why besides the interest of Microsoft having a strong European ally that is big in the European Enterprise?. well, it could also be about having a easy way to have the EU commission happy and off their way. You have to cover all fronts when it comes to the EU commission.

Some Notes

I think it a great addition to Symbian and it also does puts Microsoft in a good light on fulfilling business agreements and supporting things beyond the Windows Ecosystem. There is no downside to it for Symbian users, that is for sure.

In the case of Silverlight developers, it is a great thing to have another venue to where port Silverlight apps. More if it happens to be a platform that is hungry for them and its proven to get good engagement from its official marketplace (OVI).

But i do must highlight one thing that has not been remarked enough by Microsoft:

Silverlight for Symbian 1.0 is a Silverlight 2 level solution. You could put it as Silverlight 2+ or 2.5 given it carries some of the .NET CF along. But it is at Silverlight 2 level in the browser and that means you will not be able to access but half of the available Silverlight based services and apps out there. I do hope it advances to be a Silverlight 3+  level solution like is the case of Windows Phone 7. But there is no way for me to guess or speculate how soon that could be at this moment.

Linkage

Silverlight for Symbian device runtime

Silverlight For Symbian in Nokia OVI store

Silverlight for Symbian Developer Tools

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via Alex Golesh

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