Mobile Browsers Support More HTML5 Features, But Gaps Remain

Fragmentation among mobile Web browsers remains the most important barrier to adoption of HTML5 mobile Web apps.

That’s because there is a fairly high differential of feature support across browsers. We combed through caniuse.com, a service that tracks browser compatibility, to better understand how mobile browser fragmentation impacts HTML5 development for mobile. 

We found that the latest versions of browsers support a majority of features, but gaps remain. For example, Chrome For Android supports an impressive 98 features, but still leaves 28 features out in the cold. 

iOS Safari 6.0 supports the Web Audio API, which allows for audio processing and synthesizing, but the Chrome, Firefox, and Android mobile browsers so far do not. 

On the positive side, there is a clear trend toward more feature support on newer browser versions. But Android users have proven stubbornly resistant to software updates, and it’s likely millions of Android smartphones are carrying old versions of the Android browser. 

Given this uneven picture, it’s no surprise that in a recent developer survey, 85 per cent said they were concerned or highly concerned about mobile Web browser fragmentation affecting HTML5’s future. The W3C is making good progress establishing HTML5 standards, but browsers will have to be fully on board before HTML5 mobile development can really take off.  

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