Nokia to Boost Silverlight

The mobile communications company agrees to make Silverlight available for its S60 platform on Symbian OS.

Nokia is taking Microsoft's Silverlight rich Internet application technology to its broad base of mobile devices.

Nokia March 4 announced plans to make Silverlight available for the Nokia S60-based smart phones running the Symbian operating system, the world's leading smart phone software. Nokia officials also said the company will make Silverlight available for Nokia Series 40 devices and Nokia Internet tablets. The S60 platform is a complete Symbian OS-based smart phone terminal software product upon which developers can build applications.

Tom Honeybone, a senior director in Microsoft's Developer Division who was involved in finalizing the deal with Nokia, said the agreement will substantially extend the reach of Silverlight by making the platform available for hundreds of millions of devices, including S60 on Symbian smart phones from a range of manufacturers.

Honeybone said Microsoft will demonstrate Silverlight on S60 during the opening keynote at the company's MIX08 conference March 5 in Las Vegas.

"This is an important relationship on so many levels," S. "Soma" Somasegar, senior vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division, said in a statement. "Working with Nokia means we are easily able to reach a huge number of mobile users, including customers of all S60 licensees. This is a significant step in gaining broad acceptance for Silverlight and ensuring it is platform-agnostic."

Silverlight is a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering next-generation media experiences and rich interactive applications. Microsoft released the first version of Silverlight in September for Windows and the Mac. A Linux version, known as Moonlight, is in the works and is being developed with the help of Novell. The Nokia move "is an extension of that story - expanding that story into mobile devices," Honeybone said. "From a developer's perspective, this is extremely good news."

Microsoft officials said Silverlight is expected to be available to S60 developers later this year with delivery to all S60 licensees shortly thereafter. This will allow S60 application developers to use an even wider range of development environments for S60 on Symbian OS, the company said. Today, S60 developers can use: C++, S60 Web Runtime (supporting standards-based Web technologies such as Ajax, JavaScript, CSS and HTML), the Java language, Flash Lite from Adobe, and Python, Nokia officials said.

Nokia said more than 150 million S60 devices have been shipped by all licensees by January 2008.

"Nokia's the big dog on the handset market," Honeybone said.