Friday, March 19, 2010

Understanding Flash and the latest innovations - March 19th

By Andrew Frost
Understanding the Latest Innovations In Flash – What and Where

Recently Adobe announced a number of new product releases for mobile devices and consumer electronics devices. This has lead to some confusion amongst developers as to which platform is the right one to target for them. In this blog I attempt to give a brief overview of the 4 key platforms for leveraging Flash outside the traditional desktop PC domain

Flash 10.1
Perhaps the most eagerly awaited release in the mobile industry Flash 10.1 at long last brings the benefits of desktop flash content to the mobile work. Flash 10.1 is designed for delivering rich browsing experiences on mid to high end smart devices. Designed as browser plug-in only (i.e it must run within a web browser) it enables mobile consumers to have access to exactly the same flash based content as any desktop user. In addition Flash 10.1 also comes with support for OpenGLES 2.0 which means that it can take full advantage of the latest developments in hardware acceleration and graphics performance on the latest generation of mobile chipsets. For example this means that H.264 video content can now be decoded in hardware delivering both improved rendering performance and critically reducing power consumption. Other key features that developers will be keen to exploit include Accelerometer input, which could for example be used to enhance flash based mobile games, screen orientation handling, support for multi-touch and gestures, new commands for pause/resume to conserve battery when not the player is in use and globalization support for device-specific location information.

Flash Lite 4.0
Flash Lite 4.0 is a natural evolution of Adobe’s platform for more limited mobile devices such as mobile phones designed for the mass market or for vertical market devices that also want to leverage Flash for other application or UI development. Thus it can be used as both a browser plug-in and an application / device UI framework. Flash Lite 4.0 also brings support for Flash 10 based content but is not able to support the full rage of content as is delivered with Flash 10.1. In reality between 80-85% of web content can be supported with Flash Lite 4.0. Deltas from Flash 10.1 include the lack of support for some AIR APIs, limitations due to memory/processor constraints, and no OpenGL ES support, through OpenVG 1.1 is supported, as well as a more limited range of 3D rendering options. However Flash Lite 4 does include a number of key upgrades form the previous version (3.1) including a full ActionScript 3 implementation, and Flash Video with dynamic streaming.

Stagecraft is Adobe’s platform for the digital home and is today becoming an increasingly popular platform for the development of next generation Set Top Boxes. The current release of Stagecraft 1.2 is based on the on Flash Lite 3.1 platform but future releases of Stagecraft are likely to include the full Flash 10.1 player. Amongst the key features of Stagecraft are a framework for accelerating graphics operations and video decoding and optimisations for 2D rendering accelerations (for example through DirectFB) . Typically many chipset vendors will have implemented specific Stagecraft optimisations for their specific reference platforms. Stagecraft is currently designed to be standalone application and is not integrated into a browser or the existing DVB / STB middleware.

Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) is currently designed for desktop environments and Mobile Internet Devices. AIR enables rich internet apps to run natively outside the browser using the Flash runtime engine. Adobe recently demonstrated a beta of the AIR 2.0 platform running on Android handsets at MWC2010. As chipsets become ever more powerful then it is likely that we will see AIR become more widely used in the mobile world to provide a greater set of capabilities for building Flash in to traditional mobile applications outside the browser as well as providing a platform for running Flash based content when disconnected from the network.

Hopefully this blog has provided a clear overview of the different flash options and the target usages. The above can be simply summarized as:

Flash 10.1 - Delvers a rich browsing experience for Smartdevices

Flash Lite 4.0 - Bring the benefits of Flash, for browsing or application development, to lower powered mobile devices

Stagecraft - Flash for the Digital Home – primarily the STB market.

AIR - Support for Flash based applications outside the browser.

If you would like to discuss Flash for mobile in more detail please send an email to

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bollywood goes mobile -February 16th

By Anette Gregow
Just back from a trip to Bangalore, the “Silicon Valley of India”, where Teleca has its 2nd largest site, with many new impressions. There’s no doubt that India is one of the fastest growing mobile markets in the world. The country currently buzzes with almost 300 million mobile subscribers with over a dozen different operators spread over the country. Bangalore has the highest number of engineering colleges in India ensuring a continuous supply of fresh graduates.
These young, mobile-savvy folks have high aspirations but are underserved in everything from banking to entertainment. Getting to them via their cell phones is the best way to provide much-needed and valued services.

Why is demand for such services particularly great in India? For starters, nearly 300 million Indians now have phones - making it the No. 2 mobile market on earth - and some 8 million new subscribers sign up every month. Today the average milkman in India has a mobile phone, which was not the case ten years ago. What’s surprising is the fact that a major portion of the new mobile subscribers being added today come from the rural parts of the country.
The range of offerings is vast and includes downloads of prayers, crop prices to farmers, Bollywood movies and cricket contents. Bollywood is actually becoming a rising force in mobile. The Indian film industry produces more than 1,000 movies a year and attracts more than two billion viewers.
Combine this with India’s 300 million mobile subscriber base and the potential is self-evident!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Software platforms as a differentiator? -March 4th 2010

By Sergey Priporov
Are your strategic choices challenged by the fragmentation in new mobile device platforms?
I didn’t participate in MWC event and I was watching the event remotely from California. Many experts and systems analysts did try to indicate their observations in technology and market trends such as e.g.: and

From their point of view the top important indicators are as follows
• Mobile operators unite on global apps platform
• Google embraces mobile
• Microsoft fights back in OS war
• Samsung makes waves with bada
• Industry backs voice over LTE approach
• Nokia and Intel merge Linux platforms
• HTC & SonyEricsson launched many new Android phones

We can find many other press releases but it’s almost all about the OS wars and infrastructure and there is small piece of information about the future of mobile devices itself in terms of End User future experiences and devices new capabilities. This fact reflects the situation in Product Development infrastructure associated with new Android, WinM7 and MeeGo platforms.

Each of the platforms is targeting for multiple vendors but differentiation is not clear and becomes the key area to be success on the market.

Differentiation at this point
I have seen that Microsoft and Motorola were talking about data aggregation conception on different SW levels of mobile device and its reflection in UI. Conception is similar even if we are talking about different platforms.

Possible variants of differentiation
The trend is that Smart phone market place grows and forces out featured phones. At the same time the segment of the featured phones still is significant. I would like to take a look on Mobile Device possible differentiation from this point of view.

In reality the platforms for Smart phone development cover functionality of “featured“phones with simple calling and some other dedicated features. It means that the platform can support device transformation from simple functionality to smart prone advanced functionality.

How can it be used for products differentiation? Many customers are not ready to use smart phones and are considering to keep something simple. I think that OEMs may consider to design phones with SW which can transform device capabilities from simple featured phone (Low Tier) to Mid-Tier and finally to High-End smart phone. I mean that SW on the phone can have functionality scope configurable on fly depends on customer subscriptions (enabling on demand/disabling). This approach can be used to move customers from one market segment (Low Tier) to another one (High-End).
The BOM of the HW part is coming to be lower and lower year by year so it’s possible to ship Low-Tier phone with the same H/W as for Smart phone for all products baselines. Such type of phone can be configured by SW tailoring only. As an example we can see Android phones from Quanta Computer “TWM T1” for Taiwan Mobile and Commtiva Technology “Commtiva T1”. TWM T1 without operator calling plan has cost of $280 and “Commtiva T1” cost is $311. Qualcomm, Infineon, MediaTek and others are going to use Infineon XMM 6181 chip set which is ~$150. So Software may be a phone transformer.

Another option to transform phone functionality on fly by user demand is to install drivers and SW enablers for new functionality and new peripherals from SD card (obtained as a new service subscription). Some technologies (as LTE) are not deployed yet so it will be possible to upgrade phone with LTE capabilities as an example in future (LTE external Modems). It’s not App store approach, it’s SW components upgrade from OEMs along with new subscriptions by demand.

Software allows OEMs to implement incremental functionality change on fly by user demand as additional subscriptions. It may be a differentiator for OEMs.

• Featured phone with simple UI and basic functionality
• Capabilities to upgrade SW to Smart Phone simple functionality
• Capabilities to enable SW to Smart Phone advanced functionality
• SW Add-ins installation from SD card under DRM protection
• SW Add-ins installation from Operator downloading site

I would say that new Software platform configuration capabilities are potential way to differentiate devices. I cooked-up the term “Incremental Functionality Change on Fly” (IFConF).
Is it something to differentiate products? Let´s hear your comments!