I got to play around with Device Central under Flash CS3. Finally we got a cool emulator for all the capabilities and features of Flash Lite. First it’s important to know that Device Central is accessible from all Adobe CS3 software tools and that the capabilities and features that you can use depends on where your project starts from. For example, if you are developing using Flash CS3 you will have access to the full Device Central emulation features for Flash Lite.
This week was released the Device Central profile update #1, which can be downloaded from the Adobe site. So let’s look at the most important features.
One of the most important aspect are the devices profiles, which collect all the important information about the mobile phones. These information can be compared so that you can know specific differences.
Each device profile contains specific information relative to Flash Lite capabilities but also about bitmaps, video and web. This is great since you have immediate access to important information without the need to go to different manufactures sites looking for infos.
On the left top side of the emulator you have your Device Sets. Here is basically where you ca set your projects for different phones. You can export these Device Sets and share them with your team and also submit them for code control. This makes working in a team much more efficient.
Below is the window where you can view all the devices included in Device Central. These device profiles are update quarterly and you can download them from the Adobe site.
One cool capability is to make this view specific to different categories. For example you can view all devices based on the Flash Lite version they support, by content type and so on.
Here is the Content Type window. It’s where you can select which content you are developing for.
Information about your swf are displayed in a small File Info window.
In the Dispaly window you can select some specific effects to test for. For example you can reduce the backlight to check how your content might look like with different light conditions. Also some reflections effects can be tested.
Here is a great feature, Memory visual graph. It indicates how much memory your Flash Lite content is consuming during playback or when you load content. This is a great feature, you have direct feedback how much memory you are using. If you are freeing memory, you will be able to check it here.
The CPU simulation feature helps to understand how your content can behave on different handsets. This is not 100% accurate. Each device has a predefined index which approximate the behavior of your content playback on the real phone. It will give you and idea on what to expect. I found it pretty useful, for example content running on my Nokia N93 and N80 behave differently given the CPU difference and this feature help me to find come compromise during development.
Here some more capabilities that you can use to test your content for example you will be able to test battery and signal levels. Also time of the day and date. Very useful if you are creating content that base its behavior on these parameters.
Here another feature for testing memory usage.
A lot of new features compared to the previous emulator (skin only). This is a great tool and the fact that is available across all the Adobe software will make the workflow much easier. It will help a lot Flash Lite developers to create and test content in a more efficient way.
In any case remember that you cannot avoid testing on real phone!
Make sure to follow the eSeminar scheduled for April 25th at 9AM PST there will be an online Adobe eSeminar: Testing & Porting Flash Lite Content with Adobe Device Central. The speaker will be Paul Lamonby, Technical Director, Blueskynorth.