HTML5 and the hidden Mobile agenda

As the world wide web gears up for the full unleashing of HTML5, some web browsers are already supporting some elements of HTML5. The support varies widely, although almost all Smartphones support the new standard already which has to make one wonder why Apple and Google have thrown so much weight behind it already.

The latest versions of both Chrome and Safari support HTML5 however if we just look at the PC market, it will probably take at least three years for HTML5-compatible browsers to become the majority (unless something really drastic happens within a year). Adobe does not really need to worry about this market too much.

On the other hand, the Smartphone market is very different. Mobile Safari is already the #1 browser in the market because of iPhone and its traffic (iPhone users are much more active than Blackberry users so far). We also know that a flood of Android-based Smartphone’s will hit the market later this year and into 2011 – most of them will have a Webkit-based browser. The fact is that WebKit is becoming the de facto standard of Smartphone browsers and will accelerate the adaption of HTML5 by web developers in Mobile – way faster than PC market.

This is obviously a big threat to Adobe. Considering the fact that more and more people access the Web from their Smartphone’s than from their PCs, this is a REALLY BIG threat. Flash is NOT an open standard, and people only use it because, up to now, it is all they have known. That is changing. There is a choice now.

HTML5 Apps offer a greater development experience, you can do a push say 4 times a day for App improvements and bug fixes for example, and with native Apps this is not possible and it can take ages waiting for App Store approvals.

Some reasons to like HTML5:

1. Rapid iteration. If you code a new feature tonight, you get it tonight. No waiting three weeks for you to get their latest.
2. It prepares your systems for building a native App. Why? Because Apps can include a Safari browser instance inside, so all of this work is reusable, even if you build a native app.
3. It’s easier to build and debug because you don’t need to do a lot of specialised coding to make the native App work properly.
4. It fits into the greater Web easier for users. In an iPhone App it can be jarring to take users out to a web browser, but if they already are in the browser they are used to going to other pages and back again using Safari’s navigation for example.

Developers can make new HTML 5-based “Apps” and Web sites more quickly, and consumers can experience a true mobile Web experience. Keep you eye on Steve Jobs next move as it maybe Webkit2 based and involve the Cloud, the App Store is part of the journey.

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