Creating content for the Pocket PC platform has just got easier. This week Macromedia brings its multimedia Flash Player software to that platform. And at the Internet World Wireless show in the US, Flash developers including ideaRAGE are previewing interactive Flash games for Pocket PCs.
IdeaRAGE's first game, scheduled for release this spring, is Mall Cop. In this interactive adventure, you assume the identity of an amiable pudgy security guard who tries to thwart the efforts of a band of terrorists who have taken over a mall. Using low-tech weapons like perfume bottles and gumballs, you save the day.
"It's not exactly a James Bond-caliber adventure," says Terrill Thomas, an ideaRAGE spokesperson. The downloadable game will be available in several levels, and will be distributed online through ideaRAGE partners. Mall Cop will be released in tandem with the debut of Macromedia's Flash Player version 4 software for the CE operating system that runs on Pocket PCs.
For Macromedia, developers of Pocket PC devices represent a new venue for content ranging from cartoon shorts to simple arcade-style games. Content producers hope Flash on handheld computers will produce new licensing and advertising revenues.
Previously, Macromedia content was available on the Windows CE platform only when software was re-coded to run on a Windows CE operating system. FluxNetwork is among the firms that specialize in reformatting Macromedia and other rich media content for Pocket PCs and other Windows CE devices.
FluxNetwork is showing off its Flux Platform at Internet World Wireless. The platform is geared toward multimedia subscription services. When a Pocket PC is in its syncing cradle, FluxNetwork automatically updates multimedia content, including Flash, on a handheld.
Delivery of ideaRAGE and FluxNetwork entertainment files is not intended to be wireless. Both require the help of a PC to download content from the Internet and transmit it to the mobile device. Both developers say the cost and slow download speeds of wireless services make downloading rich multimedia infeasible.
IdeaRAGE's second game, Cipher, will have a wireless component and multiuser support. The game pits two or more people in a battle to hack and crack each other's secret code. IdeaRAGE is also pushing a Flash-enabled animated cartoon character in the form of a stylus. The character is aptly called Stylus, and ideaRAGE hopes businesses will pay to use Stylus as an interactive assistant to guide users through different Pocket PC applications.
As for Macromedia, Pocket PC is joining a variety of other non-PC devices that support its Flash technology. Among them are AOL TV, 3Com Audrey, Microsoft WebTV, MSN Web Companion, and the Sony eVilla.