First Windows Phone 7 devices won't run Silverlight in the browser

First Windows Phone 7 devices won't run Silverlight in the browser

Summary: This may be obvious to some, but in case you were wondering: The first Windows Phone 7 devices aren't going to be able to run Silverlight in the browser.


This may be obvious to some, but in case you were wondering: The first Windows Phone 7 devices aren't going to be able to run  Silverlight in the browser.

Silverlight is the primary development platform for Windows Phone 7. Since Silverlight 4 isn't quite done yet, Microsoft is providing Windows Phone 7 developers with a version of Silverlight 3 enhanced with some Silverlight 4 features, for development purposes, company officials said this week.

But Silverlight also is a browser plug-in that enables viewing of multimedia content, the same way Adobe's Flash does. The few smartphones that do support browser plug-ins like Flash support FlashLite, not full Flash, because the processors in phones haven't been powerful enough to support them.

Product Manager Mike Harsh noted that Silverlight won't run in the browser on the first generation of Windows Phone 7 devices during his presentation about developing for Windows Phone 7 at Mix this week. Here's a slide from his deck:

When I asked a spokesperson for more details about Microsoft's plans to support Silverlight as a browser plug-in on phones, I received back this statement via e-mail:

"In its first release, the Windows Phone browser does not support a browser plug-in model. We are evaluating this for future releases of Windows Phone. It is very straightforward to take an existing Silverlight browser based application and re-compile it to target the Windows Phone. Silverlight 4 has not yet been released. We will be sharing more details on Windows Phone support for Silverlight 4 once both products are in the market. Stay tuned."

We still don't know exactly when Microsoft and Adobe will manage to get the Flash player on Windows Phone 7 devices (the pair have said they're working together to do so). I wonder if the Flash player debut ahead of Silverlight on phones running Microsoft's Windows Phone OS 7.0....

Microsoft Lead Product Manager Brian Goldfarb said last year that Silverlight 3 would be supported on Windows Phone 7 (back when it was known as Windows Mobile 7). It was unclear at that time whether he was talking about Silverlight the development platform or Silverlight the runtime player; I think many of us assumed it was the latter.

Meanwhile, in other related news, the emulator for Windows Phone 7 has been unlocked by developer Dan Ardelean, just days after Microsoft made it available to programmers interested in getting a head start on writing apps for Windows Phone 7.

Update: One of my readers, Martin Bennedik, questioned Microsoft's claim that the first iteration of the Windows Phone 7 browser wouldn't support a plug-in model. He said he was able to get Silverlight to work using the Windows Phone 7 emulator.

"My Silverlight chess board is displayed, although the screen of the emulator has a lot of flickering, and I didn't manage to use the UI. You can verify this yourself by going to in the emulator's browser. This wouldn't display at all if their claim about no plug-in model would be true, I think," he said.

Finally, as this big week for Windows Phone 7 comes to a close, Microsoft is battling claims that Windows Phone 7 is not going to meet enterprise users' needs.

In a March 18 blog post, Charlie Kindel, Microsoft Partner Group Program Manager for the Windows Phone Application Platform & Developer Experience refuted the idea that Microsoft forgot about business users when designing Windows Phone 7.

"Windows Phone 7 Series will be a great business phone. We applied the same end user focus to designing the phone’s business capabilities that we did with every other element of the phone. We asked people and even IT administrators what they need from a phone. The answer was consistent. They want a single device that excels at core business functions like email, reading and editing Office documents and collaboration, while also offering rich features and capabilities that help people stay on top of the different parts of their lives, at home and at work.

"We expect Windows Phone 7 Series to appeal to people who are active, connected and working, so Exchange & SharePoint integration and the features within the new Office hub are core to the phone’s value. Similarly, we know that people add these phones to corporate networks and that we need to make that process easy for administrators. Interestingly, when we talk to corporate IT staff and business decision makers they ask us to give them a compelling phone that will not only improve productivity,  but also appeal to the end user’s “whole life,” as people wish to carry only one Smartphone to meet both business and personal needs. We think Windows Phone 7 Series will do this better than any other phone on the market today.

For us, it’s not a matter of 'consumer' OR 'corporate.' We view our target customer as the kind of person who is looking to technology as a helper in their lives, and we find this kind of person in small businesses, all the way to the largest corporations.  Whichever end of the spectrum they are in, we are building a phone that works for them, in their environment."

I'll be interested to see if business users agree with this assessment. So far, I'm hearing from a number of business customers that Windows Phone 7 is too consumer-focused for them to use as a hybrid platform....

Topics: Mobility, Browser, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Software Development, Telcos, Windows


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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  • so lame

    M$ can't even run its own products on windoze mobile.
    even Novell can run the patent laced moonlight on it.
    Linux Geek
    • Where are all the FOSS phones then?

      What happened to the mobile versions of Linux then?

      Android? You mean from Google - the company that holds their search algorithm as patented, closed source-code, and collects and sells as much information of yours as they can get their hands on?

      Last time I saw a purely Linux phone, it was made by Sharp (the Zaurus). And where are they now?

      Even Stallman doesn't get into mobile operating systems because of closed source software.
      • android, webos, moblin and others

        Linux Geek
        • All have...

          significant closed source, proprietary components.
          • Fruitless

            to argue with LinuxGeek. His mind is gone.
          • "Fruitless to argue with LinuxGeek. His mind is gone."

            And you're assuming he/she/it ever HAD a mind to begin with are you? Not likely.
          • FUD

            they are all based on GPL license.
            You can't make them more open than that.
            Linux Geek
          • Sorry, but you're wrong

            Android is heavily tied into Google Search. Show me the source code to Google Search. You can't.

            Moblin is dead and Meego hasn't even been released yet.

            Also show me where Palm has released source code to WebOS. You can't, because Palm hasn't licensed it under the GPL. They only licensed previously-released GPL-licensed modules for use in WebOS. In fact, you can say that since WebOS includes modules that are GPL-compliant with Palm's own modules, they aren't complying with the terms of the GPL.
          • Android's components/licensing

            To be specific Android is:

            * At it's basis, a Linux kernel and probably
            some other GNU tools - these are licensed under GPLv2
            * On top of that is the rest of the Java-based
            Android stack, which is licensed under the more liberal
            Apache license. This includes the majority of applications
            user-end shipped with stock Android.

            However there are a number of so-called 'Google
            Apps' - including GMail (although Android also has an
            Apache-licensed POP3/IMAP Email app), Maps, Market, YouTube,
            Google sync of Calendar and Contacts (although the actual
            Calendar and Contacts apps are themselves
            Apache-licensed.), etc - which are propreitary and
            have to be licensed from Google. In addition, most of the
            drivers that manufacturers include for their specific
            devices will normally be proprietary, but beyond that,
            Android is open source, in the form of GPL and Apache-
            licensed code. It is possible to build and use Android
            without the Google Apps, as is optionally possible with the
            popular CyanogenMod ROM.
      • Maybe you should look before you reply!!

        Arm A. Geddon
    • yay you're back rejoice!

      i'm so happy. take that windoze losers! go buy a real computer! more words of wisdom from my personal hero.
      linux geek2
  • RE: First Windows Phone 7 devices won't run Silverlight in the browser

    It will work for me.
  • which business users are you talking to?

    What do businesses need from their Blackberries & other phones at this point in time? Emails,contacts, Calendar, ability to view spreadsheets, pdfs, etc & a decent phone. You're going to get all of that plus sharepoint integration with the new OS. You will also have keyboard devices for people like me who don't like typing on a touchscreen. So why does anyone think these phones won't work for businesses?
    • Plus

      ... I am fairly hopeful they will allow proper certificate-based access to corporate WiFi networks, which saves a bundle on data plan costs.
  • RE: First Windows Phone 7 devices won't run Silverlight in the browser

    Maybe they (Microsoft) should just delay windows 7 phone
    series, a little till it is done. How many more things are not
    actually shipping with it? No CCP, Not 3rd party multitasking,
    no external memory, and now no silverlight? This is looking
    more, and more like a train wreck waiting to happen.
    • Software upgrades

      Appel didn't wait, they knew they had to release their phones prematurelly in order to hit the market at the right time.

      My guess is that they've researched the timing and found it to be the best time to do so, add the couple features later as they mature.
      John Zern
      • I can just picture...

        The Android ads now. I do 7 times as much, The sad thing is Microsoft
        copied the wrong version of the iPhone OS. They should have copied the
        3 version, not the first. Unless they feel the religious faithful, will buy it
        just for the name.
  • This just get better and better...

  • Silverlight Apps for Windows7

    When will MSFT port the Phone7 apps to Windows7 desktop? That is the last boundary for Apple's dominance. To trump it now would be awesome.

    Also, does anyone know if MSFT will do a tablet version of Phone7? Once the platform is set, then let the products fly!!!
    • Why Phone7 OS?

      there are already tablets with Windows 7, why put an inferior, lightweight OS when you can get the full meal deal?