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Scalable Vector Graphics  

Mobile SVG
Now - in March 2004 - it is time to finally create an extra page
on "mobile SVG" and to inform about the development
regarding both the hard- and the software. This article describes the Status Quo of this time. In parts some of the collected information has been updated (recognisable by
the statement of the actual date). If you, however, are looking for the most recent news I highly recommend!

Mobile SVG 

Latest update: 28.05.2005 

In October 2001 the W3C Working Draft for SVG Tiny and SVG Basic was published.
At the first SVG Open conference in July 2002 I could admire some impressive SVG applications for mobile devices. Now, what is mobile SVG?
Amongst others two of the many advantages of SVG - its light file size and its scalability - make it perfectly suitable for the use on small devices like cell phones and PDAs. Since the various mobile devices differ with regard to CPU speed, memory size and colour support, it was necessary to define two different mobile profiles: SVG Tiny (SVGT) for smartphones and lower-end devices and SVG Basic (SVGB) for higher-end handsets and PDAs.
The worldwide mobile market is exploding and so is its demand for useful applications. Think of all possible SVG applications you like and already have seen on your computer.
Well, all these also work on a mobile device: animated greeting cards, games, stock market line graphs, interactive technical drawings, zoomable maps...
You will simply have to take into account that some features of SVG are not supported in the two mobile profiles. E.g. filter effects (drop shadow, lightning, etc.): In SVG Basic only a subset of filter effects is supported, in SVG Tiny filter effects are not supported at all.
Mobile devices have rather small displays and since the size differs with each model,
you are strongly advised to create your SVG files using  width="100%" height="100%"
instead of giving exact pixel measurements.
In this popup window I have started to list display resolutions for some mobile devices.
 Enabled devices / Hardware
The vast majority of mobile devices already is or can be made SVG enabled.
Further down below I will list information about the respective software, but I am talking about hardware first.
SVG enabled devices: Well, there are some, which support SVG as standard out of the box, and there are others, which allow you to install SVG software yourself.
The following are examples for devices from both categories:
SVG enabled devices are e.g. all which have Symbian OS on it, which is the case with the majority of mobile devices!
As at spring 2004: Nokia 3650/3600, Nokia 3660/3620, Nokia 6600, Nokia 7650, Nokia 9210 Communicators, Nokia 9290 Communicator, Nokia N-Gage, Sony Ericsson P800, Sony Ericsson P900, Motorola A920, Motorola A925, FOMA F900i, FOMA F2102V, FOMA F2051, Siemens SX1
Coming soon: Nokia 6620, Nokia 7700, Nokia 9500, Motorola A1000, Panasonic X700, Sendo X, BenQ P30
Pocket PCs and Palms can be SVG enabled by e.g. installing a viewer by Sharp.
Various kinds of viewers are available for Windows Smartphones (e.g. BitFlash, CSIRO, eSVG).
Owning a Java enabled mobile device generally is a good thing. All the many already known advantages of Java on PCs are also valid on mobile devices. And hey: mobile Java is not only about gaming, it also allows you to install the free TinyLine SVG Viewer ;-)
Another information, which is relevant in this hardware category:
In 2002 Bitboys developed a hardware-accelerator, which - amongst others - enables SVG-files to be rendered much faster, which is of advantage especially on mobile devices.
News from October 2003: "The Bitboys Acceleon G10™ graphics processor core has been integrated into the display IC by NEC Electronics."
December 2004: On Antoine Quint created a list of SVG-enabled phones (with pictures)! Great!
Quite a lot of software for mobile SVG is already available, both viewers/players and editors/authoring tools.
For the above mentioned widespread operating system Symbian OS there is the viewer ZOOMON SVG Player, which supports SVG Tiny. The upcoming Siemens CX65 Mobile Phone will be the first to be shipped with an embedded ZOOMON SVG Player.
Another one will be the Sony Ericsson K700 (2nd quarter of 2004).
For Symbian OS there also is a version of the browser Opera, which since April 2003 comes with the ZOOMON SVG Player (seepress release).
Update May 2005: Zoomon has changed name to Ikivo and the viewer is now called Ikivo SVG Player.
From CSIRO there is PocketSVG for Pocket PC/Pocket PC 2002 (supports SVG Tiny).
PocketSVG can run e.g. on these devices: HP Jornada 548, Cassiopeia EM-500, Compaq iPAQ. It is not free, but a 60 day demonstration version is available.
From Sharp there is the free SharpMotionART player for Palm, Pocket PC and Zaurus.
This player also works on a PC as a plugin for the browsers Netscape/Mozilla and Internet Explorer, so you can e.g. test your work in your browser.
Then there is the BitFlash Mobile SVG Player (supports SVG Tiny and SVG Basic) available for Win2000/XP, Pocket PC/Pocket PC 2002 and Symbian OS 6/7.
The player is not free, but a 90 day trial version is available.
In 2003 Sharp and BitFlash joint in developing a new player, MotionART player, which will be shipped with Sharp's V601SH in 2004.
From Intesis there is eSVG for embedded systems (e.g. ActiveX control for MS Office) as well as for Pocket PCs (works e.g. on Compaq iPAQ). In January 2004 Intesis announced that a porting of eSVG to Symbian OS is underway.
Since 2002 there is TinyLine (free), version 1.6 of the TinyLine SVG Toolkit was released in January 2004. The toolkit includes a mobile-SVG viewer (supporting SVG Tiny) for J2ME (Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition) devices, like e.g. Motorola A760, Nokia 6600, Sony Ericsson P900, Samsung SGH-P400. I also saw a working TinyLine 1.5 player on somebody's Sharp Zaurus 750.
Since March 2003 the NetFront Browser by ACCESS includes a multimedia extension module, which allows to install a SMIL player and an SVG viewer. Operating environments are amongst others Palm OS, Symbian OS, Pocket PC, Windows CE and Linux. Amongst others Sharp Zaurus SL-A300, B500, C700, Sony CLIE PEG-NX70V / NX60 / NZ90 have a pre-installed ACCESS browser.
Plazmic are offering free interactive media players for i-mode and for MIDP devices and, furthermore, an authoring tool for creating rich wireless content as well as a GUI based interactive content creation tool (both free as well).
All these are still available for download on their website, however, since they - in 2002 - teamed with Beatware, there has not been any news from their side.
And last, but not least, there also is, since 2003, the free Open SVG viewer, which is aimed mainly at Pocket PCs.
News end of June 2004: SVG rules on mobile devices, however, there also is Flash Lite for mobile devices and the respective viewer. This viewer is now also supposed to support SVG Tiny 1.1.
20. July: Read Antoine Quint's excellent article commenting on quite a few lies Macromedia is spreading about SVG.
15.02.2005: The German language IT portal Heise reports of future mobile versions of the browser Opera for smartphones and PDAs, which can display SVG files. Opera had already been collaborating with the further above mentioned Zoomon for quite some time; Zoomon now became Ikivo.
 Since autumn 2002 there is BitFlash Brilliance, which is both a graphic design as well as a source-code editing tool for mobile SVG content. It seems to be the most interesting authoring tool, however, I do not investigate this any further, since in autumn 2003 BitFlash and Beatware decided to cooperate and released e-Picture Pro (see below).
The question is: What is now going to happen to BitFlash Brilliance?
 The GUI of e-Picture Pro 4 by Beatware (Win2000/XP) is very similar to Flash (it also exports to the Flash format, amongst others). As opposed to BitFlash Brilliance it is a WYSIWYG tool only - no chance for coders (and no scripting). Designers, including the fans of Flash, love it. It also allows you to test what your SVG files look like in the various mobile devices. Finally, this piece of software is affordable ($169). For those who - as opposed to me - would not miss the opportunity to see and alter any SVG code, this tool seems to be a good choice.
 Beatware just came up with another tool, Mobile Designer, which offers far more features than e-Picture Pro. The main difference is the support of interactivity. You are able to create and edit JavaScript functions (but not to edit the SVG source-code). Due to many increased capabilities this tool is more expensive ($399) than e-Picture Pro. The latter will, however, be kept available as animation tool, entry level.
 XStudio 6 by EvolGrafiX (Win2000/XP), which is a mighty SVG editor, offers the opportunity to also export your SVG files to the SVG-Tiny or -Basic format. As opposed to e-Picture Pro, it also allows you to create SVG files by coding (scripting included). This is a major and for me most decisive plus. However, the thing is far more expensive than e-Picture Pro. *sigh*
 For the second quarter of 2004 EvolGrafiX announce the release of Mobile XStudio 2, which is targeted at the development of mobile SVG applications (SVG Tiny and Basic) only. One should therefore expect it to be less expensive than XStudio 6.
 Another WYSIWYG tool is the SharpMotionART authoring tool (see also their above listed viewer). There is a 90 day trial version available on their site (I could not find any pricing). It runs on Win98 - XP. It does support amongst others the SVG format, however, the technology behind SharpMotionART (in Japan known as E-animator) is a little bit different: Although you *can* import SVG files (e.g. created in Illustrator first) and work on them, the final file will have the suffix .nva. Therefore those NVA files can only be read be the respective, above mentioned viewer.
 A new tool, Plazmic Content Developer's Kit v3.7 for BlackBerry, was announced on 22nd March 2004 (Win2000 Pro/WinXP Pro), free of charge. Similar to the principle of SharpMotionART this editor produces a proprietary, binary format, in this case .pme and .pmb, which - as I understood - can only be displayed on BlackBerry handheld devices. You first produce or import SVG content, which is then exported to the PME or PMB format. For developers, who don't have access to a BlackBerry device, a simulator is included in the package.
 The ZOOMON composer (Java) (see also their above listed viewer) is not a real authoring tool for developers or graphic designers, but is targeted at end-users/consumers to allow them to create various kinds of MMS themselves.
Update May 2005: Zoomon has changed name to Ikivo and the authoring tool is now called Ikivo Animator (Windows and Macintosh). It functions as an addition to Adobe Creative Suite. It is possible to download a 15 day trial version.
 For completeness I should also mention the Pocket SVG toolkit from CSIRO (see also their above listed viewer). It costs 300 Australian Dollar. There has not been any update on their site since November 2002 and I have not heard anything noteworthy about this toolkit in recent times, therefore I do not take the time right now to investigate any further.
 Mobile SVG Profiles: SVG Tiny and SVG Basic
W3C Recommendation 14th January 2003
 Mobile SVG Profiles: SVG Tiny and SVG Basic, Version 1.2
W3C Working Draft 9th December 2003
 Mailinglist at Yahoo: SVG-Mobile
SVG on mobile phones, PDAs etc... List founded in August 2002
 Six papers on "SVG Mobile/Location Based Services"
at the conference SVG Open, Zurich, July 2002
 Symbian OS
Operating system, which runs on the majority of mobile devices
 "Opera for Symbian OS now with SVG Tiny support from ZOOMON"
Press release on 24th April 2003
 J2ME (Java 2 Platform Micro Edition) devices
A very long - but not complete - list of J2ME devices
 03.04. SVG Tiny Examples by Sara Porter's Purdue University students
They used a combination of E-Picture Pro and Notepad. Interesting!
 06.04. Going Mobile With SVG: Standards by Antoine Quint
Another, very interesting introductory article!
 You should by all means visit for most recent news on SVG, including mobile

© 2001-2006 Petra Kukofka E-Mail symbol back to topback to top