Silverlight Mobile Road Map Refresher

In keeping with my apparent "theme" this week of providing you with some Silverlight detail refreshers, I want to bring-up the topic of Silverlight for mobile platforms. While it has been widely known since the earliest days of Silverlight that mobile platforms would be supported, little attention (or scrutiny) has really been applied to the portable plug-in. In fact, if I were to ask you to tell me about Silverlight's mobile plans right now, you'd probably list these details:

  • The plug-in will not require you to change your Silverlight code (build once, deploy everywhere- ideally)
  • The mobile plug-in will be available for Microsoft Windows Mobile and Nokia S40/S60 and Internet Tablet platforms.
  • Microsoft is actively trying to develop partnerships to deploy the plug-in on other mobile devices. And no, the iPhone is not on the known short list.

But quick! Tell me which version of Silverlight is coming to the mobile platform first? And when is that version going to be available? If those answers don't come to you as quickly, I don't blame you. The information is not really circulating as prominently as it should be.

In my preparation for a recent trip to India- the place where all Silverlight Mobile development is done, by the way- I collected the latest known public details on Silverlight's mobile road map and will share them with you here. In short, Silverlight's road map looks something like this:


What's this diagram saying? Exactly this:

  • The first version of Silverlight for Mobile is going to be Silverlight 1.0 (JavaScript only - no .NET) and a CTP should be available any day now.
  • We'll get the first "official" Silverlight for Mobile (1.0) towards the end of this year, sometime after Silverlight 2.0 officially ships for the desktop. Around the same time we should get a CTP of Silverlight 2.0 for Mobile.
  • Finally, around this time next year we'll get the .NET-loving version of Silverlight for Mobile.

It appears that the Silverlight for Mobile development is lagging about a year behind it's desktop counterpart, which may come as a surprise to some. The real take-away here, though, is this: if you're planning on doing any Silverlight development for mobile platforms, don't expect to begin rolling-out production applications until early 2009. If you want to roll-out applications that re-use that fancy Silverlight 2.0 .NET you're writing now, expect to wait 'til next summer for production.

This post isn't intended to be "doom and gloom" on the Silverlight for Mobile road map, but rather a reality check for any developers that are getting increasingly excited about Silverlight 2.0 and are starting to make plans for real application development. Silverlight for Mobile is definitely coming- and it will be cool when it arrives- just don't expect to launch new Silverlight 2.0 apps completely cross platform (as in, including mobile devices) until sometime next year.


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