WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
The PC web has gone back and forth in terms of browser fragmentation so what does the future hold for mobile? There are three key things to watch.
The standardization process of HTML5 is still ongoing, so we expect browser developers to conform better to these standards in the future in terms of APIs and Java script support.
2. OS AND WEB BROWSER VARIATIONS
Another key question is how many OS and browsers will survive. If you believe that Safari and the Android browser, which will soon be merged with Chrome will prevail as the winners then the complexity of testing and standardization might not be so bad. With Webkit as the basis for both Safari and Chrome Webkit they even share a common code base. This could also mean that the PC and mobile versions of the browsers will merge, which would vastly simplify development although some of the functionality of a mobile device will still be different.
3. HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE
One thing that is certain is that the software providers and device manufacturers will continue to innovate, which means new shapes, screen resolutions and OS versions at an ever-accelerating pace. Or maybe a few formats such as the iPad 9.7 inch or Android Tablet 10.1 inch come out as the winners, thereby streamlining hardware specifications for some period of time.
In conclusion, HTML5 is currently not the answer to mobile fragmentation. But with further standardisation and concentration towards two or three mobile OS there is definitely a good chance that it will become so in the future. Until then, delivering a great user experience across multiple platforms and formats will continue to be a challenge whether it is HTML5 or native apps. We hope however that the opportunity in mobile is so big that it’s still worth the investment.