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Silverlight for Mobile primer session at MIX08

March 5, 2008

Silverlight Mobile

One of the bigger announcements at MIX this year is Silverlight for Mobile Devices.  I had heard it was coming, but I wasn’t able to spend any time looking into it before the conference.  So once I saw that there was a new session announced called "Mobile Devices and Microsoft Silverlight: A Primer on the New Technology" (we need permalinks for each session) I made sure to make my way to Delfino 4003 to attend.

Amit Chopra and David Kline presented an overview of the product roadmap as well as some application design guidelines.  You could definitely tell that they are enjoying the development of the product as Amit showed off mobile games he had made for his kids and David said flat out this was the most fun he had in awhile.

The different scenarios they are hoping to address include News and Media, DataSnacking (like checking the weather with WeatherBug), Retail and Social Networking (I want a new twitter UI on my phone).

Their goal is to release a CTP of version 1 by Q2CY08.  Version 1’s technical details include:

  • Parity with Silverlight 1.0
  • Runs in IE Mobile as a browser plug-in
  • Runs on Windows Mobile 6 Standard and Professional
  • JavaScript Support
  • Possible Device  Specific Media Stack

Silverlight hat returns

The media playback is an interesting feature to implement.  Currently they do not ship with any codecs and make full use of those installed on the device.  The positive side is that the codecs on the device are most likely optimized for that device and will perform well.  The issue they are still looking into is how well the same media will play within those different devices using different codecs.  This is an area they are still finalizing.

One the real benefits that I see is that as a developer you are using the same set of tools and code whether you are creating Silverlight 1.0 apps for the web or for mobile.  Visual Studio and Expression Blend are the tools and Visual Studio also includes an emulator, for convenience and those of you like me who are still running Windows Mobile 5.  Apparently the browser model in Windows Mobile 5 is not near as extensive as Windows Mobile 6, so it would be a lot for work to back port it to 5.  That’s ok, I’d like a new phone anyways.

The other big announcement regarding Silverlight Mobile is that it will also run on the Nokia platform.  This is very cool, keeping Silverlight true to form by being cross-platform.

Silverlight Mobile roadmap

So when does it become real?

The team is planning to ship a CTP of version 1 in the 2nd quarter of 08 and then RTM the 4th quarter of 08.  Along with the RTM of version 1, they are planning to release a CTP of version 2 which will match Silverlight 2 including the managed runtime.

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