Thursday, March 02, 2006

Flash Lite and Sony Ericsson

So recently over the last few weeks Sony Ericsson have announced a whole new range of phones. Some really nice ones too with some relatively unique designs. In the past I have been pretty keen to state how great it is to see Sony Ericsson phones with Flash Lite embedded. You would think that one of the most stylish mobile phone manufacturers combined with Flash Lite would be an awesome setup for some really cool content to be created. Well - to be blatant its the complete opposite.

Sony Ericsson have had some issues with the performance of the Flash Lite player on their handsets - this is true. But this is not the reason nobody creates Flash Lite content for Sony Ericsson phones. Heres a few reasons why Flash Lite is failing with SE:

First up there is no communication between Flash Lite developers and SE. Sure there is a lot of protection of information in the mobile OEM sphere but there are plenty of developers out that who have a really good understanding of how Flash Lite can be used to great effect within the SE setup.

Secondly there is no technical documentation on Flash Lite or ANY developer information. This gives absolutely no confidence that Flash Lite is actually a technology that is intended to be used.

Phone specification on the SE website is not always accurate. How do you begin to plan to target a phone if you know that well, it may say Flash Lite on the website but it wont have Flash Lite really.

Firmware upgrades have removed Flash Lite. I am only aware of this being happening with the W800 but the mere fact that it has happened once is enough to further fragment and destroy confidence.

There is no consistency in the actual implementation of Flash Lite. So from the W550 onwards Flash Lite is used for browser and UI only. The use of Wallpapers and Screensavers is disabled. Is this documented anywhere? Nope. Given the wide variety of Flash Lite developers out there fragmentation of functionality is not a big issue in itself but zero documentation is a massive issue.

I think I could probably go on and explain a few more areas that are key reasons why Flash Lite hasn't been taken advantage of on SE phones. But you get the picture :)

So what does the future hold for SE and Flash Lite. The website lists some 6 new 'coming soon' phones that have Flash Lite capabilities. I am not so sure that all those phones will actually have Flash Lite pre-installed. Especially all the UIQ phones. SE could make a real niche with Flash Lite and UIQ using the stand alone player.

More long term I think the Nokia implementation of Flash Lite will probably cause SE to rethink what they could really do with Flash Lite. I don't know why SE Flash Lite is where it is but I would guess that its because SE doesnt really understand how to address the massive pool of Flash Lite developers or how to classify Flash Lite. I don't think Nokia will make the same mistake and the newer licensees such as BenQ Siemens look like they will be taking full advantage of FL too.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Scott said...

Nick, good commentary.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Nick Gerig said...

Thanks Scott, Just condensing what everyone says/knows anyway :)

11:53 AM  

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