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Handhelds Cellphones Microsoft Hardware

Microsoft Accepts Flash For Windows Mobile 90

Posted by kdawson
from the embrace-is-the-first-step dept.
Ian Lamont writes "Despite Microsoft's aim to take on Adobe Flash with Silverlight, the company has decided to support Flash on Windows Mobile devices. Microsoft has also licensed the Adobe Reader LE software, so owners of Windows Mobile devices will be able to view PDFs. The two companies are working together on integration and OEM distribution, but Microsoft is still mum on when consumers will be able to use Flash or Silverlight on their Windows Mobile phones. The article points out that Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, and LG already support Flash, but only Nokia has announced Silverlight support, and only on some models starting later this year. The other major handset maker — Apple — doesn't support Flash on the iPhone and has no plans to do so in the near future."
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Microsoft Accepts Flash For Windows Mobile

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  • What will it take to replace both Flash and Silverlight by a genuinely open standard (that has a Free Software implementation)?
    • by l2718 (514756) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @03:21PM (#22787468)

      Flash [adobe.com] and Silverlight [microsoft.com] are fully documented, and there exists free implemenetations: Gnash [gnu.org] and Moonlight [mono-project.com], respectively.

      • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @03:27PM (#22787536) Homepage
        "Free Software" suggests there are no patent traps to be concerned about, and that's certainly not true with anything involving Mono.
        • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) * on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @03:32PM (#22787596) Homepage Journal
          Now burdened with Flash!

          Gee. My phone ALREADY locks up, when browsing ("I TRIED to answer your call!), What'll YouTube do to it?
        • by KillerCow (213458)
          No, it doesn't. The GPL (and all other "open" licenses) do nothing to grant you a patent license or to protect you from needing them. There is no assurance that some Joe's open source free software doesn't unknowingly infringe on someone else's patent.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by CRCulver (715279)
            The issue is that software patents stand against the ideals of Free Software. Stallman has long stood against software patents, and boycotted GIF and Amazon for years. Therefore, the implementation of Silverlight cannot be said to conform to the spirit of the Free Software movement. It's a free implementation, but it's not a Free one.
            • His point, which is completely valid, is that Free software with a capital F doesn't automagically protect you from software patents. Which is 100% true. Stallman can do whatever he wants, but if Joe Coder releases a piece of Free Software that violates a software patent, the virtue that it's Free doesn't supercede the patent.

              So in the end it doesn't matter. You can get screwed either way. Pick your poison.
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by orclevegam (940336)
                I think the point here is more that in the case of things like Mono, they blatantly violate a known patent, and exist mostly by the permission of the patent holder. The risk of implementing anything on Mono (or similar patent encumbered software) is that at any time the patent holder can step in and throw a major wrench in your operations. With a truly "Free" implementation there is no known patent infringement, and even though there's always the chance it violates a patent held by someone somewhere the odd
            • I think that software patents are bad as well; however, it's also stupid to say that they are bad because RMS said so.

              There is a cult of personality built up around RMS, and there's nothing more frustrating than talking to someone who thinks that old hippy is some kind of "visionary" whose ever word is true. The guy wrote a port of emacs and some dogmatic diatribes on how he thinks software development should work, but people treat him like he is the Jesus of open source.
        • by rucs_hack (784150)
          "Free Software" suggests there are no patent traps to be concerned about, and that's certainly not true with anything involving Mono.

          Are you sure? I always thought that Mono was a completely independent implementation. At least that was what I was told at uni.
          • by orclevegam (940336) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @03:57PM (#22787922) Journal

            Are you sure? I always thought that Mono was a completely independent implementation. At least that was what I was told at uni.
            Independently implemented != safe from patents. It just means it's safe from copyright and certain provisions of the DMCA. Until the idiocy of software patents is abolished doing any sort of development work on absolutely anything is the legal equivalent of running through a minefield.
      • I have yet to see gnash work, and I've got it installed in Debian, FBSD, and Vector Linux. I keep seeing references to it working, but not here... It's a darn shame. And silverlight/moonlight appears to be the solution to a nonexistent problem.

        What about H264?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Adaptux (1235736)
        Flash and Silverlight are fully documented, and there exists free implemenetations: Gnash and Moonlight, respectively.

        I tried Gnash recently, and the video that I tried to view simply didn't play.

        In addition, Adobe does not allow the documentation for Flash to be used for making or improving a free software viewer.

        Regarding Silverlight: yes, the docs appear to be not restricted in such a way, however that is not good enough. Who knows whether the documentation is complete? In addition, without forma

      • by TubeSteak (669689)
        Are any of those implementations, free or not, really secure?
        Or am I going to have to patch the software on my mobile too?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Simon Brooke (45012)

          Are any of those implementations, free or not, really secure?
          Or am I going to have to patch the software on my mobile too?

          Security has a number of dimensions. A heterogenous environment is more secure because a disease vector can spread less rapidly; and in a population with a dominant phenotype, disease vectors which attack that phenotype will be more successful and spread much more rapidly than ones which attack the recessive phenotype. Which is part of why there are fewer successful malware attacks on Linux than on Windows, on Firefox than on IE, but more on Apache than IIS. It's not (only) because Linux and Firefox are o

      • there exists free implemenetations: Gnash and Moonlight, respectively.

        Neither of those are fully implemented or even stable. They are NOT adequate replacements.

      • Didn't read the pages you linked to, did you?

        From the Flash SDK page: "This license does not permit the usage of the specification to create software which supports SWF file playback." This is exactly why Flash is not actually documented or open.

      • by mlts (1038732) *
        Maybe this is just me, but I'd like to see a totally independent open standard, similar to how Ogg Vorbis is an independent standard with compressed audio, or PNG is an independent format for displaying pictures.

        This would have to take a lot of thought because it would be hard to get developers on board yet another Web standard, and a lot of man months would have to be put in to check every line of code for potential exploits. It would help having the reader either set its UID to nobody in UNIX, or in Wind
    • by maxume (22995)
      A Free Software implementation that is better for users than either Flash or Silverlight. Since they are already free for users, cost isn't a huge factor, and since(judging based on current behavior) users seem a lot more concerned about the value they perceive some software to provide than they care about "Freedom", the easiest(perhaps only) way to win is to be better.
    • by tc9 (674357)
      We've got it in SVG. The problem is, most of the behaviors have never been impimented by anyone other than Adobe, who killed their implimentation after they bought Flash.
      • by Adaptux (1235736) *
        Sounds interesting - I wasn't aware that SVG defines enough functionality that it could serve as a genuinely open Flash/Silverlight competitor. Where can I find detailed information about this?
        • by tc9 (674357)
          SVG is a vector format allowing backgrounds/bitmaps to be hosted within any vecor in which all objects are fully DOM accessible, meaning the graphic elemetns can be programmed as are any page elements. This means that it is easul extensible using any of the AJAX techniques. There is also a whole suite of behaviors/movements that are defined in the specification.

          One good place for this is the old Adobe SVG Community page

          http://www.adobe.com/svg/community/external.html [adobe.com]

          I have alway been fond of the WPS Real-Ti
    • There's already a free alternative well supported on mobile phones... SVG Tiny

      What is needed there is a good free Authoring tool. The only one that is worth anything right now is Ikivo Animator... you can see a demo here [adobe.com]

      InkScape is good for creating SVG artwork but it doesn't have a timeline or scripting support for animations or interactivity.

      This is called out on an SVG compliance comment on their wiki [inkscape.org]

      The other authoring tool mentioned there is Beatware but it has disappeared... possibly purchased by anot
  • What do you expect? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by l2718 (514756)
    Not implementing the industry standard while putting in their own competing product would have serious anti-trust implications.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by twitchingbug (701187)
      in the mobile space? Are you saying that Microsoft has a monopoly there?

      Here's a a smartphone chart by OS [roughlydrafted.com] that I found...

      If you believe it Windows Mobile has 25% market share, which, in my mind, means that they don't have a monopoly and can implement almost anything they want to, because there are ... wait for it... CHOICES in the mobile OS arena.
    • by DavidApi (136128)
      Not sure what your point is, or whether you're being sarcastic, but ...

      If you're saying Apple has a proprietary format to compete with Flash, then what is it? QuickTime? Or AAC/MPEG-4? Flash seems to fit a different niche that those formats. Microsoft must be supporting Flash for the same reason. WMV is similar to AAC/MPEG-4 in that it's in a different niche than Flash.

      I thought I read somewhere that Apple have decided against Flash for some purely functional reasons. Apple wouldn't deliberately cut themsel
      • by ben0207 (845105)
        YouTube is supported on the iPhone and Apple TV because Apple paid rather a lot of money to have YT transcode the Flash fiels into H264 files.
  • I didn't think there was a version of silverlight for mobile devices? Perhaps I just missed it.

    And the deal is for FlashLite, which supports a crappy / old set of API's and is only of use to people developing specifically for it. Getting the real flash player on phones would be a whole lot more useful, but it ain't the best performing application in embedded systems.
    • by vux984 (928602)
      but it ain't the best performing application in embedded systems.

      It ain't the best performing application on a full blown desktop.

      I was hoping mobile devices would stay away from flash long enough to force web developers to provide non-flash required systems - so that all of us could choose to have flash on or off. Most sites shouldn't absolutely require flash just to navigate around.
  • I for one (Score:3, Funny)

    by imamac (1083405) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @03:22PM (#22787482)
    miss all those flash ads on my iPhone.
  • by Timothy Chu (2263) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @03:27PM (#22787538) Homepage
    Hmmm...don't know why this is news:

    Flash: http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer_pocketpc/downloads/player.html [adobe.com]

    PDF: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/acrrppcdload.html [adobe.com]

    I've had these installed since 2005.

    Note that some flash videos like youtube videos, won't run in this implementation of Flash (so perhaps the article is referring to a version of Flash that *will* run streaming video). The widgets that web site designers tend to embed in their bloated websites do load for me with Windows Mobile 2003.

    The "news" part of this may be that it's MS supporting this, not Adobe as it currently is, which may mean a better implementation.
    • by toleraen (831634)
      The headline is full of suck. It's not that MS is finally supporting flash or PDF, they're just shipping their OS with it already installed. Like you said it's been there for years, just as a separate download.
    • by e03179 (578506)
      From TFA: "so that Windows Mobile phone users can view Flash content in the Internet Explorer Mobile browser". Windows-based PocketPC != Windows-based Smartphone. Yeah, PocketPC's and Smartphones can both can run Windows Mobile but Smartphones haven't been able to run the Flash player you mentioned. This is great news for those that want Flash on a cellphone.
      • by toleraen (831634)
        I've been running Flashlite 2 on my Windows Mobile cellphone for months, the same version the GP linked.
    • by hkmwbz (531650)
      That's Flash 7, not Flash Lite 3 (which handles Flash 8 content).
  • "The other major handset maker -- Apple -- doesn't support Flash on the iPhone and has no plans to do so in the near future." Since when did the tiny install base of a closed platform start competing with Windows Mobile, S60 or RIM? This is just stupid. The iPhone will never be a major player for businesses as long as Emperor Jobs keeps the platform locked down. It can't even multitask.
    • by pohl (872)
      It can multitask. Several built-in applications do already. What you mean to point out is that the SDK does not currently expose an API for you to write an app that does things in the background.
  • The other major handset maker -- Apple -- doesn't support Flash on the iPhone and has no plans to do so in the near future.

    That's because everyone will switch to Quicktime! Oh yes! It's catching on like wildfire.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Nitemare14 (1256834)

      It's catching on like wildfire.
      If it's catching on like wildfire, then someone needs to put it out, and fast.
    • by ArAgost (853804)
      You mean like if Youtube videos got transcoded in H.264, or something like that?
  • The other major handset maker -- Apple -- doesn't support Flash on the iPhone and has no plans to do so in the near future.

    I think this is a real problem for iPhone owners. Most iPhone owners love their Safari browser - yet they are denied all Flash content on the iPhone.

    Remember that funny "get a Mac" web ad that has the PC on the ladder, attempting to repair the broken Vista signage? That was a Flash-based ad. And millions of iPhone users couldn't even see it. Or hear it.

    Without Flash support, many web sites lose important advertising revenue. The lack of Flash support is a true shame, taking power away from customers w

  • It certainly wouldn't make a whole lot of sense to not include it (short of any technical reasons, that is). If Microsoft didn't include it, they certainly wouldn't see more sales. (Depending... some people are quite against flash -- but in a lot of cases those same people are also against Microsoft). Silverlight is similar, but of a much different flavour. In all honesty (to me), it seems as though they just decided one day "Lets try to dip into this market and see where it takes us." I don't seem to se
  • If people want it on there it's going on weather Micro$oft likes it or not. Just like with apple's iPhone
  • I keep hearing contradictory claims about the platforms supported or not supported by Flash Player or Flash Lite... Adobe's website is uninformative. Even their wikipedia articles are imprecise. AFAIK:

    • Flash Player [wikipedia.org], which is the regular browser plugin, is currently (version 9) only available for the i386 architecture ( this flash developer [kaourantin.net] claims the JIT compiler in the Flash VM is delaying the port to x86-64). Older versions (7 or earlier ?) used to be available for the PPC arch for Mac OS, but PPC su
    • I have Flash Lite on my phone. I don't think it supports video.

      For Windows Mobile phones, it's standard to use TCPMP [wikipedia.org] to play video, since it supports a huge number of codecs.
    • Flash Player--up to version 9--still supports Mac OS X on PPC. There is/was a full Flash player (v7) for Windows Mobile. It was bad.

      Flash Lite 2.0 doesn't support video and is more or less compatible with ActionScript as implemented in Flash 7. Flash Lite 3.0 is very new and does support video and parts of Flash 8's ActionScript. It works on S60/Symbian, BREW and WM5. I don't know what processor architectures it supports. It will run in a browser on WM5/6, but the experience is really unpleasant (thou
  • I've witnessed the confusing litany of name changes and double switches that has occurred with Windows Mobile. It's gone from Windows CE to The OS Formerly Known as Windows CE, to Windows Pocket PC: Pocket Edition for Pockets to, I think, encompass any device with a touch screen that now runs Windows Mobile 5/6. And would I be correct to assume that still excludes "smartphones?"
  • Palm shows no signs of having Flash on their phones either AFAIK. Which bums me out kind of, but since they work with YouTube in a similar fashion to iPhones, it's not as bad as I guess it could be.
  • I guess Microsoft felt left out of the Apple party and wanted a spinning beach ball/wheel of death for Windows Mobile.

    Flash is guaranteed to bring a windows mobile device to its knees.

    -ted
    • by DanJ_UK (980165) *
      Or any mobile device for that matter.
    • by Xtravar (725372)
      It's funny because it's true.

      I just ported our administrative database generator application from Windows Mobile to the desktop. It used to take 1 to 4 hours on the handheld device... it takes less than 30 seconds on the desktop. (It was originally a Pocket PC app because there wasn't a way to use SQL Mobile from desktop applications.)
  • The other major handset maker -- Apple -- doesn't support Flash on the iPhone and has no plans to do so in the near future.

    Sometimes I think there's hope for Apple after all.
  • Microsoft is still mum

    I just had a horrific vision of me as schoolkid with Bill Gates stood by my front door in a padded dressing gown, giving me a peck on the cheek, putting my schoolcap on my head and saying "Bye, dear, have a nice day at school!"

    And Steve Ballmer as my dad waiting in his car by the school gates as I climb into the passenger seat after a hard day at school. And as he turns the key in the ignition, he looks at me and says:

    "Son, I think our holiday photos are ready so on the way home

  • Yeah, just what my Moto Q9c needs - it's sluggish enough with EVDO Rev 0 with a rather friendly implementation of IE to boot....

    Until handset vendors can get an ARM processor or equivelent that has some real horsepower and a memory footprint to support it, I'll leave the Flash on my desktop....or not.

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