Feeds

Silverlight for mobile: what's in, what's out

Previews first quarter 2009

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

PDC Microsoft has scheduled the first quarter of 2009 for the first code drop of Silverlight for mobile devices.

And while Silverlight for mobile will be missing some elements in the desktop that have people excited, Microsoft's working to pack in other features increasingly considered standard in the demanding world of mobile phones.

Out is the Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR) to run scripting languages like IronRuby and IronPython, because Microsoft doesn't want to fragment Silverlight.

There's also a question mark over Deep Zoom, the feature that lets you keep drilling into a picture while retaining crystal-sharp clarity on minute details.

The concern is the sheer size of images that'll be accessed - gigabytes in size. Network latency could mean they don't refresh properly while the limited processing power of a mobile device could rule out the ability to cache images locally.

That could harm the user's experiences with Silverlight and turn people off.

No final decision has yet been taken on whether to include Deep Zoom. Other things likely to get cut are "big" controls that take advantage of desktop screen space, such as a calendar.

Amit Chopra, Microsoft mobile development group senior program manager, told The Reg that Microsoft is working hard to include APIs for location and camera that aren't included in the current desktop edition of Silverlight.

His goal is they appear in the CTP but made it clear if they won't be included if the effort of adding them delays the CTP or means final product ships too far after the release of Silverlight 2.0 - released this month.

"We want to sync up to the desktop and not get on the treadmill of catching up," Chopra said.

He noted location could end up in the desktop version of Silverlight, serving laptops.

Other work Microsoft is doing include fine-tuning Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) to Windows CE 6.0, to take advantage of greater processor space and to do things like run multiple applications and to not be limited to a 32Kb address space.

Overall, Silverlight for mobile faces two challenges that Chopra said Microsoft is working to overcome. One is sheer size - the download is 4MB, which is big for a mobile device over a wireless network. Microsoft's goal is that Silverlight comes pre-installed on handsets.

Already, Nokia has committed to ship the S60 running Silverlight and Microsoft's said it's talking to other handset companies.

Pre-CTP, Microsoft is not working with handset providers but is instead partnering with a number of ISVs who've already used Silverlight to build applications.

"As an end user, I hope you never have to see that," Chopra said of the 4MB size. "We want to work with the OEMs and vendors to get it on the device."

The other challenge is making sure Silverlight runs in the same way - not just in different browsers but also on different handsets, the real hurdle in the handset industry.

Chopra said Microsoft wants a single version of Silverlight for mobile, not different editions for different handsets, to avoid and overcome the fragmentation that's bedeviled Java. "The explicit goal is not to go down that path," Chopra said. "It will be the same runtime." ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.