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Is the Future of Mobile Browsers Bright?

22nd May, 2011

So Intel has a new chip and smartphones not only get smarter but faster. So why bother creating specific browser builds for mobiles? Mobiles have the inherent problem of dimension so rendering is different to rendering to spaces such as that on a tablet or on the traditional desktop where most CSS designers are pretty much in agreement that they develop to 1024x768, for now, though even that standard is being reviewed because of every increasing screen sizes. Even if it is 1024x768 the context might be different - think iPad where the dimension is the same but the user experience is different compared to a traditional website.

There is no real standard size that can be applied to mobile devices considering there are about 48 main different width and height dimensions used on mobiles though there appears to be a trend to use a standard for smart phones at least with a width and height of 320x480. Please don’t get me wrong I am not suggesting the above to be adopted as a standard. It would be nice to see manufacturers however use more standard dimensions – I guess consumers though lead that game.  

Most people do agree though that the mobile browser war is nothing like the desktop browser war.  Right now there are about 25 major mobile browsers, the list is actually quite extensive if you were to consider all mobile browsers out there, including Safari, Skyfire, NetFront, Iris, Obigo, Blazer, Android browser (which is not an incarnation of Chrome), Internet Explorer Mobile, Opera etc.  Soon I am sure that list will slowly diminish as buyouts and take overs or natural selection kicks. The best that will survive will be those that can display web apps (or mobgets if you want to define web apps in a mobile context) well and in whichever dimension.

Considering web apps will have a long history going forward as they are relatively platform independent, though certainly browser dependant, and that developers and business executives are much happier developing once (and a half) rather than for every mobile platform out there it looks pretty certain that the mobile browser future is rather bright – but hey maybe HTML 5.0 will be replaced by some new technology and then really are browsers the right technology to display 3D content?