Flash support coming to Windows Mobile

Microsoft has said that an updated version of Internet Explorer for Windows Mobile 6.1 would be released in time for Christmas and that it would be preinstalled on new devices released around this time.

Jay Roxe, the group product manager for Windows Mobile, told IT PRO that the new version of Internet Explorer would be able to compete with other mobile browsers such as Mobile Safari and Opera Mobile. Pages will more closely resemble how they are rendered on a desktop and it will be possible to pan and zoom using the fingers or phone controls.

The new mobile browser would be based on the rendering engine of Windows Explorer 6 for the desktop but would also incorporate the Javascript and Ajax engine from Internet Explorer 7.

"Many sites are now Javascript and/or Ajax heavy and don't work well on mobile devices, but now if I want to check my online banking from my mobile device when I'm on the Heathrow Express, I'll be able to do that."

In addition, Roxe revealed that Microsoft has licensed Adobe's Flash Lite for the next mobile version of Internet Explorer. "Users want a rich web browsing experience," said Roxe, "so they'll now get as full featured an experience on their desktop and they will would on their desktop."

However, he revealed that a mobile version of Microsoft's own Silverlight application, a rival to Adobe's Flash, would not be ready for the next release, though it has already been showcased at the recent Microsoft PDC conference.

"Bringing features such as Flash and Silverlight to bandwidth and processor limited devices brings a series of challenges. However, we made sure we licensed Adobe Flash Lite as our research showed us that after email, the web browsing experience was very important to end users."

Roxe said that an emulated version of the new version on Internet Explorer for Windows Mobile was up and running in Visual Studio, enabling developers to test and optimise for new devices.

He also stated that the ease many more developers were moving to develop Windows Mobile applications thanks to its similarity to those already familiar with Windows Forms and ASP.net.

"In the current climate, this familiarity means developers don't have to spend time and money re-skilling staff which can really reduce development costs".

Benny Har-Even

Benny Har-Even is a twenty-year stalwart of technology journalism who is passionate about all areas of the industry, but telecoms and mobile and home entertainment are among his chief interests. He has written for many of the leading tech publications in the UK, such as PC Pro and Wired, and previously held the position of technology editor at ITPro before regularly contributing as a freelancer.

Known affectionately as a ‘geek’ to his friends, his passion has seen him land opportunities to speak about technology on BBC television broadcasts, as well as a number of speaking engagements at industry events.