Can WM6 Phones Handle Adobe Flash?

The blogosphere is all a-buzz about Microsoft's announcement that it will support Adobe Flash Lite on Windows Mobile 6 phones. Sort of a thumb in the eye of Apple, who doesn't support Flash on the iPhone. Flash Lite isn't supported in the newly launched iPhone SDK either.

But is all the Flash Lite hubbub much ado about nothing? Do cell phones, current and future, have the processing chops needed to run Flash Lite, or will underpowered devices deliver a disappointing mobile GUI experience?

Steve Jobs may be telling it to us straight.

"...as a consequence, [Adobe Flash Lite] performs too slowly on the iPhone." - Steve Jobs

Fact of the matter is cell phones are going to need a lot more screen/graphics processing power than most of today's cell phone user interfaces demand. The IE browser in today's Windows Mobile 6 is a very poor comparison to the Safari browser on Apple iPhones. Could WM6 devices handle Flash Lite? I'm not so sure.

Supporting Silverlight in WM6, which was also part of the announcement along with Nokia's previously announced support, brings a lot more potential to the table than Flash. Silverlight  on mobile devices is a crucial component of Microsoft's Mesh strategy to distribute software on the desktop, PDA/phones, and in the cloud as web apps.

The bottom line with both Flash and Silverlight is that they both will require much greater graphics processing power to deliver a positive user experience on PDA and cell phone devices. If you've ever used an underpowered mobile device, you know what I mean.

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