MWC 2011 and Flash Platform: Good Progress and Good Performance

With Mobile World Congress coming to a close in Barcelona, we are seeing tremendous momentum for the Flash Platform runtimes on mobile devices. It’s incredibly exciting to see, touch and play with all the latest devices that our ecosystem partners are announcing and launching this year, including tablets like the Motorola XOOM, RIM Blackberry PlayBook and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S II, Sony Ericsson Xperia pro and neo and the five new Android smartphones from HTC. With beautiful web content for Flash Player and rich apps built with AIR, these devices highlight the wide adoption of both the Flash Player and AIR, especially since the former has only been available for about 6 months and AIR has only been available for a little more than 3 months!

While the momentum has been astonishing, there are still some questions on how Flash Player is performing on mobile devices. Tim Siglin, an editor at Streaming Media and co-founder of Transitions, Inc., wanted to find out for himself and published his findings in his whitepaper Performance or Penalty – Assessing Flash Player 10.1 Impact on Android Handsets. It is an in-depth look at the performance of Flash Player on a number of mobile devices, and the results may surprise you. Key highlights from the whitepaper include:

  • For the vast majority of video content delivered for Flash Player on mobile devices, performance is equivalent to the full frame rate experience on desktop. This is a huge improvement vs. video played back on previous devices.
  • The most significant factors impacting mobile battery life for video playback, for both Flash Player and the native device player, is appropriate video encoding and optimization.
  • There is minimal, if any, impact on mobile device battery life with Flash Player, even with multiple apps running.
  • All web content, running in Flash Player or not, consume battery power at consistent rates over WiFi in the native browser.
  • GPS, 3G and other resources on a phone consume more power than Flash Player, including when highly interactive content is viewed.
  • Flash Player 10.1 performance was 350% better than equivalent content in HTML, running an average of 24 frames per second for Flash Player 10.1 and 7 fps for HTML.

These initial findings support the positive feedback we have seen from users on Android Market where there have been over 6M downloads, 150K ratings resulting in a 4.5 out of 5.0 stars for Flash Player. Here are a few additional new devices that were announced yesterday at Mobile World Congress that are supporting the Flash Platform runtimes:

Sony Ericsson UI AS2 Components Beta 2

As you saw in my previous post our friends at Sony Ericsson have been hard at work creating UI Components.  Today they are announcing Beta 2 of the set and published a huge array of different components, in particular these are well suited to use with their Capuchin devices.

The list is really extensive and enables an array of different applications to be created, with drag and drop development.  Here are some of them:

  • Action List Dialogue
  • Check Box
  • Dialogue
    • Warning
    • Error
    • General question
    • Confirmation
    • Information
  • Image
  • Infotip
  • Notification
  • Options Menu
    • Top Level
    • Sub level
  • Progress Indicator
  • Push Button
  • Radio Button
  • Lists
    • Single-row List
    • Single-row List with Icon
    • Two-row List with Icon
    • Check Box List
    • Radio Button List
  • Slider
  • Scrollable Area
  • Scrollable Text
  • Soft Keys
  • Status Bar
  • Text
  • Title
  • Toolbar
  • Wait Indicator

Go get them!

Sony Ericsson release Flash UI Components in AS2

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A few days ago the team at Sony Ericsson released their first set of UI components for the Flash Player on mobile devices.  Written in AS2 and fully integrated with Adobe Flash Professional CS4.

Each of the controls are fully customizable use the Component inspector, enabling you to change the look and feel for your applications.  Everything from background colors to text values and icons are supported across the components, it’s ridiculously easy to make them fit with your apps look and feel.

The beta set includes 8 new components ready for you to use:

  • Checkbox
  • List – Single Row with Icon
  • List – Two Rows with Icon
  • Progress Indicator
  • Push Button
  • Radio Button
  • Softkey Bar
  • Wait Indicator

How to Get Started

Once you’ve downloaded the MXP file here, you can install the components by simply double clicking on the file.  The Adobe Extension Manager will install the files and add them to the Components Panel in Flash Professional, you can open it using the Window Menu within the tool.

As you see it’s then possible to start dragging the UI components onto the Stage here on the left, which in my case is set for a Sony Ericsson C905 device at 240×320.  By default the components come with a nice Sony Ericsson look and feel, and if you’re like me then a little help in the UI department always helps (as you’ll see later).

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Using the component inspector (shown here in the middle) you can then start to customize the look and feel of the list.  Check out just how much you can configure the components simply by clicking a few options, it’s really very nice indeed.

Ok, so I said about that my design talents need some work but I’ve played around with the various options and come out all blue.  Additionally, since the list component is using live preview, you can see your items directly and the active scrollbar on the stage.

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Of course you can configure these options with Actionscript too, which is pretty much required for anything other than static lists.  Yet for colors and sizes there’s a real value in having live preview components, particularly for the designers among you.

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In the image above I’ve added a softkey menu to enable me to buy some Star Fruit, which is shown selected at the top.  Using the component inspector I can set each of the items too, and so disable items that may be unavailable.  I can also change their color for highlighted, selected and disabled items directly in the tool.

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Now that I’ve completed my list I can add a simple shadow fill and the Wait Indicator component (in circle mode) to animate when the purchase is taking place.  Again it’s configurable so that I can make it fit in with my application, and of course control the spinning of the circle in Actionscript.

Then I’m ready to test in Device Central CS4 to ensure that everything looks great, before a bit of testing on the Sony Ericsson C905 :-)

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Remember that it’s possible to begin using these components along with the extensive list of MXP files for Project Capuchin.  Targeting Capuchin devices enables you to deliver standalone applications that have full access to JavaME apis on the JP8 platform, there are seventeen devices already.

Don’t forget the PlayNow Arena available on 38 devices, 17 countries and 200million users!