Sony Ericsson today announced at its Developer World conference plans for a new technology that bridges Adobe Flash Lite and Java ME development platforms.
The technology, called Project Capuchin, allows Java ME applications to use Flash Lite as the front-end interface for mobile phone applications.
More importantly, it builds a connection between the phone’s applications and Flash, something that the few phones able to run Flash don’t do. Flash is just a display layer, not actually interactive with the phone.
“In using Flash, you typically can’t access properties of the phone. But with Capuchin, you can get at information and applications in the phone and use that info with the Flash display,” said Christopher David, director of long-term platform planning at Sony Ericsson.
The Java ME/Flash Lite connection will be a two-way street, so both can invoke the other, according to Ulf Wretling, director of Sony Ericsson Developer World. Flash content is packaged as a Java JAR file for use on the mobile phone.
“For people developing standard Flash content today, there is not an extremely rich way of reusing that content [on mobile phones],” Wretling told InternetNews.com. “We provide a tool that wraps that Flash content in a Java file, so it can be used as a Java file.”
Wretling said Ericsson has been betting heavily on Java as a cross platform application environment, and believes UI experiences can be easily addressed with Flash, or at least partly addressed with Flash. “We need to drive our platform strategy to provide content designers with the right set of tools and applications to best work with the richness of a platform,” he said.
David said the technology could “very likely” grow into an open source project so it is not limited to just Sony Ericsson phones. “Where and how is not finalized yet. We are still working on the details on shape and form under which this will appear.” He said.
A very good idea
Roger Entner, senior vice president for the communications group at IAG Research, said he thinks Flash on a mobile phones is a very good idea. “There are already several phones out with Flash. It’s brings the ease of use from the Internet to handsets, and I think the porting will be much easier than people think,” he told InternetNews.com.
Entner said using Flash will be mostly a cosmetic effect but that’s a big help for developers. “It will help them have a much smoother, more elegant software interface and user interface. It will make it easier for developers to do things you could do previously but not easily,” he said.
Sony Ericsson will show off the Project Capuchin kit at the JavaOne expo, taking place May 6-9 in San Francisco.