Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Nokia's with Flash Lite pre-installed?

Since Nokia's February licensing aggreement with Macromedia for the Flash Lite platform Flash Mobile Developers have been eagerly awaiting the first deployment of the Flash Lite player on a Nokia phone. Although Flash Lite works on any series 60 phone it hasnt been made available to consumers via download or developers for distribution. This is a somewhat frustrating situation as there millions of series 60 phones on the market but there is currently no way of commercialising Flash based content for them. There is no info on whether this is a temporary situation or a policy that has been decided upon for the Flash/Nokia roadmap. I am inclined to think that its just easier for Nokia to have the benchmark for Flash as being Series 60 3rd Edition. At least that way its a straightforward way of defining a market for Flash on Nokia phones. Its also a good reason for consumers to want to upgrade to the all sing and dancing next generation Nokias. From a developer point of view it slows the production of content. If the series 60 platform was targetable by bundling the Flash Lite player in a sis or by allowing consumers to download it in much the same way as real player is offered to ngage users then that would enable the comercialisation of content now! But as things currently stand there is no market and therefore no justifiable reason to dedicate resources to Flash lite. Of course I am sure many companies are producing content as part of a long term strategy, but I mean more the push for companies to commercialise existing assets now.

So assuming things stay as they are Flash developers are looking forward to the first series 60 3rd edition phone to be announced that can offer timestamp for the rollout of Flash Lite enabled Nokia devices. This however seems to be a confusing process. The latest series 60 phones (the n-series)were announced recently and I was hopeful that they would be series 60 3rd edition phones but alas initially the documentation pointed to the 2nd edition. However, a bit further down the line it appears that the N91 will be series 60 3rd edition and will therefore be the first series 60 Flash Lite enabled phone. How confusing is this?

To confuse matters further the register recently posted an article on the new series 40 phones recently announced by Nokia. Among the details they stated that the phones supported the newly announced series 40 3rd edition which in turn supported Flash Lite. So we will have to see if this is true in the next few weeks as Nokia unveil more information about the series 40 3rd edition. I have been unable to verify whether the series 40 3rd edition actually does support Flash Lite because there is limited documentation at the moment.

So there we have it, the Flash Mobile community can definately smell the first Nokias , they are on their way. What remains to be seen is what models first ship and in what form the Flash Lite player has been implemented. The existing player runs as standalone rather than browser which is great for applications. However from a commercial point of view would Nokia really ignore the selling power of having Flash Lite available for standby and wallpaper? Is the Japanese model really so different from what non-Japanese consumers want? I dont think so. Sony Ericsson seem to see the Japanese model too, where Flash Lite is some sort of advanced dynamic eye candy. I think if Nokia were to add the sceensaver, wallpaper and standalone implementation of the Flash Lite player then it would really be a great platform for delivering both eye candy and applications to Nokia users. If they just opt for the standalone implementation then it will still be great for fun as well as serious applications but will miss the opportunity to progress beyond the stayed era of animated gifs.

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