Macromedia Shines Mobile ‘Flash Lite’

Macromedia hopes a mini version of its Flash Player
will help give it more play outside the desktop.

The software maker released Macromedia Flash Lite 1.1 for mobile handset manufactures.
The updated profile of the company’s Flash Player targets mass-market mobile phones
that do not have enough processing power.

Developers will get access to the Flash Lite 1.1 through a content
development kit (CDK). The download
covers tips, techniques and sample code for developing Flash content on
mobile phones using Macromedia Flash MX Professional 2004.

Juha Christensen, Macromedia president of mobile and devices, said Macromedia
is counting on its more than one million strong community of Flash developers
and designers to help animate the space.

“We’re looking to evolve the phone as it exists today with improvements to
the presentation layer,” Christensen told

Christensen said Macromedia is just forming an evangelist group to spread the word
and has already received a good response after the company’s recent
developers conference in Japan.

“One of the things we’ve been recommending to developers is to think
in terms of the form factor,” Christensen said. “You are not going to find a mouse or a
full keyboard on a mobile phone.”

Christensen said one of the benefits of Flash is that the code size is a
mere 314 Kb and needs at least 1MB ROM, 50 MIPS and 2MB RAM to operate.

The player has support for the W3C standard SVG Tiny (SVG-T) and new
scripting commands that let developers build functions, such as sending
multimedia messages, dialing and checking the network status and battery level.
The update also adds improved audio support for MP3, PCM ,
ADPCM and SMAF (Synthetic music Mobile Application Format)
audio formats.

Macromedia said adding SVG-T support was a direct request from its
European customers and is part of the 3GPP standard. However, Macromedia
has not announced support for SVG-T in either version of the authoring
tool, Flash MX or Flash MX Professional.

“As Macromedia continues to build products that address customer
requests and feedback, we welcome additional feedback from our present
and new customers. To date, the Mobile and Devices team has received
minimal interest in authoring for SVG-T,” the company said in a statement.

The update announced Monday is the first since Flash Player Lite
debuted on NTT DoCoMo 505i handsets last year. Since
the release of the first two DoCoMo cell phone models, the 505i series
has enjoyed brisk sales. DoCoMo said it has sold 100,000 units of the
D505i (Mitsubishi) and 40,000 units of the SO505i (Sony) so far. The company
said four more handset models are on tap to ship over the coming two months.

Already, Macromedia has partners lined up to install Flash Lite 1.1
in their handsets. In addition to NTT DoCoMo, Bellwave, Sony Ericsson,
Symbian, Texas Instruments and T-Mobile are all early adopters. Macromedia
said Sony CLIE handhelds already ship with Flash Player, and it is working
with other Palm OS licensees to broaden the distribution of Flash Player on
additional devices.

The company said Flash Lite 1.1 will be licensed in different
configurations to address the needs of specific market segments, such
as handset manufacturers and operators.

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