Microsoft has released a version of Silverlight for some implementations of the Symbian mobile operating system, meaning its rich media player will appear on Symbian handsets before it reaches Microsoft-based phones.
The port of Microsoft's rival to Flash was made available to users of the Nokia 5800, N97 and N97 mini handsets, which run the Symbian-based Nokia S60 5th edition, on Tuesday. The application can be downloaded for free from the Ovi Store.
Microsoft's own Windows Mobile operating system does not yet support Silverlight, nor does it support Adobe's Flash. However, the new Windows Phone 7 platform that is due for release later this year will be largely based on Silverlight. No other mobile platform currently supports Silverlight.
Silverlight for Symbian, which includes a runtime that is optimised for memory-constrained devices such as phones, allows for hardware-assisted playback of the H.264 video format used by YouTube and iTunes, and supports Microsoft's IIS Smooth Streaming media-streaming extension. It also lets developers create rich web applications for Symbian using Silverlight, and provides a .Net Compact Framework runtime and class libraries.
According to Microsoft, there are more than 20 million users of Nokia's 5800 and N97 devices. Symbian did not say whether the Silverlight player will be compatible with future versions of Symbian, such as the upcoming Symbian^3 and heavily revamped Symbian^4, and did not respond to a request for comment by the time of writing.