RIM Touting HTML5 Capable WebKit Browser, Will it Finally Bring Mobile Web Apps?

Capture on 08-10-2010 09-36-42I have to say I have been loving the new web browser in BlackBerry 6. RIM really took the most pitiful smartphone browser and made it purr. They did take away shortcuts like spacebar to page down but hopefully they will reintroduce them later. One of the features that RIM and many other companies have been pushing in newer browsers is support for HTML5. This new version of the HTML standard is supposed to be a game changer which will allow mobile web based apps to finally take off.

Prosanta posted a nice article on the official RIM blog about the new HTML5 elements in BlackBerry 6 and the WebKit browser which is worth checking out. The thing is I feel like RIM really needs to detail why HTML5 is going to make developers flock to the BlackBerry browser instead of native Java apps.

The thing is that the two main features users care about that were added in HTML5, video and offline storage, didn’t really change in the BlackBerry WebKit browser. According to the RIM documentation they do not support the video embedding which is key to HTML5 and is intended to replace Flash. With regards to the offline storage RIM already had this with Google Gears in the OS 5.0 browser. Maybe because HTML5 is a more accepted standard it will take off but it does not really add anything that was not possible before.

With that said what I think the real difference is in the new WebKit browser is JavaScript. My BlackBerry no longer CHOKES when it hits a JavaScript heavy site. If anything it purrs and works quite well. I think this new JavaScript engine in WebKit is what is going to make the big difference. The JavaScript speed plus the new offline storage capabilities will let developers create apps that do not need a constant internet connection to work. Hopefully RIM will add video support in the future but they seem to be pretty tight with Adobe and Flash recently.

I wanted to ask all the developers out there. What do you think HTML5 support will do for BlackBerry Web Development? Will it make widgets popular?

8 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. No video support… Now, I shall reconsider buying

  2. Seriously? They didn’t implement video streaming? That’s pitiful! I could care less if RIM is in bed with Adobe and Flash, they built a HTML5 browser and cut out a huge advantage it has over prior standards for what?

    I know we shouldn’t rely on benchmarks, but all the BlackBerry sites and RIM themselves touting this new browser’s standards compliance should be ashamed of themselves. And I question the value of any of these ACID and HTML browser tests if a browser can score high with a major feature like video streaming nit implemented.

  3. What exactly are you refering to in regards to Mobile Web Apps?

  4. Actually – shortcuts are disabled but you can turn them on in the options. (“Enable keyboard shortcuts” )

  5. Even if you turn the shortcuts back on the spacebar to page down does not work… Only in emails.

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