Could Silverlight be Microsoft's next app for Android?

Could Silverlight be Microsoft's next app for Android?

Summary: Microsoft released its first application for the Android mobile operating system this week: The Microsoft Tag Reader. Might Silverlight be Microsoft's next Android app?


Microsoft released its first application for the Android mobile operating system this week: The Microsoft Tag mobile barcoding reader. Might Silverlight be Microsoft's next Android app?

The move makes sense. Microsoft officials have been hinting since 2008 that Microsoft was considering supporting the Android platform. One report last summer noted that Microsoft had a version of Silverlight for Google Android in beta (though I haven't found anyone claiming to have such a beta). Silverlight already works with Google's Chrome browser, though "official" support arrives with Silverlight 4, which is due out in the first half of this year.

If Microsoft really does want to make Silverlight a cross-platform solution, wouldn't a Silverlight port to Android be a no-brainer? And given Microsoft's Mix 10 conference -- the company's biggest showcase for Silverlight -- kicks off on March 15, could there be some news on the Silverlight on Android front coming?

I asked Microsoft officials about it and was told (via a spokesperson): "Silverlight does not run on Android today. Microsoft is committed to providing support for multiple mobile devices, but we haven’t announced a specific roadmap at this time."

Rob Sanfilippo, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, said he hadn't heard about an imminent Silverlight for Android announcement, but noted that such a move wouldn't be too surprising.

"The Silverlight mobile story has been promised, but not disclosed and it is long overdue since Silverlight was originally intended to be available on any platform," said Sanfilippo. "Microsoft can’t limit Silverlight mobile to just Windows Phone if it wants to become a serious RIA (rich Internet application) contender on devices, so Android (and iPhone and BlackBerry) can’t be ignored. Technically, I don’t see why Silverlight on Android wouldn’t be possible if Microsoft commits the resources, although I would not be surprised if not every Silverlight feature is available on Android devices (in the same manner that Windows gets better Silverlight support than Mac)."

Silverlight already is available still not available on Windows Mobile 6.x mobile phones. Microsoft officials have said it will be available on Windows Phone 7 devices  (and is expected to be key to the Windows Phone 7 development story). Microsoft execs have shown demos of Silverlight streaming on the iPhone, but not offered a delivery timetable for Silverlight on the iPhone, . And Microsoft and Nokia announced in 2008 plans to make Silverlight available on Symbian-based Nokia phones.

"Flash 10.1 is in beta now with Android support, although possibly not on every Android device," Sanfilippo noted. "It is likely Microsoft will aim to at least match Flash’s support of Android."

The Mono team is working on MonoDroid, a port of Mono, an open-source implementation of .Net,  to Android. And this week, the Mono backers managed to get Moonlight -- Novell's implementation of Silverlight for Linux -- to run on Chrome.

Anyone have any more details (or guesses) on when Silverlight might be available for Android?

Topics: Android, Google, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Mobility, Smartphones, Software Development


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • it won't happen

    Google won't let silverdark on Android until M$ learns to behave.
    Linux Geek
    • How delusional are you?

      Google can't even keep AT&T from removing Google
      Search from Android

      You think they can or want to keep Silverlight off
      of it?
      And why would they? The more software running on
      Android the better.
      • no trojan horses allowed

        it might trick developers to use M$ tools instead of FOSS.
        Linux Geek
        • Developers aren't tricked

          into using MS tools or products. They use MS
          products and tools when it is the best suited for
          what they need to do, which is often.
    • When was the last time you left the basement?

      Would it be possible for you to upload an mp3 of
      yourself saying, "Put the lotion back in the
    • Open Source

      I thought the whole idea of open source was to let they public do what the please with it. If they prevent people from using it in this wouldn't be "open" would it?
  • Android/Chrome will be easy since Intel's already got it on Moblin

    Also you need to check your facts on "Silverlight Streaming" on iPhone. There is no such thing as Silverlight Streaming as far as I know. MS demo'd Smooth Streaming on the iphone, which was not Silverlight but a native iphone app.
    Johnny Vegas
  • I could see it happening...

    Microsoft has found its way out of the "we compete with our customers" problem by way of Oracle and their quest to BE the IT shop. MS can come out looking good playing the tight rope game of getting along but guarding your own that everyone else is playing.

    And just to note. I'd possible use Silverlight on Android though most people that may read my posts here would say I'm some anti-MS zealot (because zealotry is all they know). You see here this is direct support from MS for Linux. Its not some third party crap thats always 2 versions behind and being hammered out with no real solid release and a "blessing" from Microsoft. Now of course they could still pull the plug once they have critical mass but I'd be willing to give it a shot and carefully watch to see if some checks and balances appear in the grand scheme.
    • Maybe, It's not really all that direct

      I wonder if it's only support for Linux indirectly. More like support for the Java VM. My guess is they already have a java applet version of the SilverLight addin for Mac users that they are porting over to Android.

      I would not consider myself a zealot, but some of your posts have seemed a little on the ABM side, particularly your disdain for developers whose skills are MS centric.
  • RE: Could Silverlight be Microsoft's next app for Android?

    a. silverlight is no more evil than flash which already runs on android.

    b. iphones dont/wont run either flash or silverlight - so boo to apple

    c. silverlight is cool i hope it comes to android soon
    null reference
  • Silverlight on Android is good for Windows Mobile 7

    I hope that Microsoft realizes that Silverlight on Android and everywhere will mean Windows Mobile 7, 8, 9 will have a better chance at being successful.
  • RE: Could Silverlight be Microsoft's next app for Android?