mobile — Broken Links Archive

Innovation in Mobile Browsers, and the iPhone

Last week I wielded the mighty power of Twitter to say this:

If you use an iPhone I feel a bit sorry for you, because you’re missing out on the really innovative stuff happening in mobile browsers.

A few people asked me what I meant by that, perhaps thinking that I was criticising iPhones in general (I wasn’t[1]), so I want to take a moment to elaborate on my statement. To do that, I’ll begin with a story.

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Mobile Browsing Around The World

I find it fascinating to see the variance in browser use in the diverse regions of the world, and nowhere is that variance more apparent than in mobile web browsers. While in the West we may be used to Chrome and Safari being more or less the only game in town, elsewhere in the world the story is quite different. In this article I’m going to take a look at a few charts which illustrate that difference.

The stats used here are collected from the 30 days prior to 25th August, taken from StatCounter.com. They come with the usual disclaimer about the impossibility of getting completely accurate data, and don’t always include feature phone browsers, so should therefore be treated as indicative rather than conclusive. With the caveats out of the way, let’s begin.

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Some stats on OS and browser share

Last week on Twitter I shared some browser and OS statistics from a site I manage. These turned out to be quite popular, so I’ve decided to expand on them a little further, and also add the stats from another site I manage, to broaden the base numbers a little. I’m not trying to make any point here, just sharing a little bit of analytics data. If there’s any interest in my doing so, I’ll provide further updates in the future; leave a comment if there’s anything in particular you’d like to know.

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On Internet Explorer and Microsoft

I’m not a blind Microsoft-basher, neither am I an MS fanboy (in fact, I think the whole idea of aligning yourself with any single technology or brand is pretty narrow-minded). I think MS do some things well, and some things poorly. I am going to have a bit of a pop at them at the end of this article, but I’m going to start by defending them.

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Encoding Video for Android

In my previous post, Making HTML5 Video work on Android phones, I said that you have to encode your videos as .m4v in order for them to work in Android. This isn’t actually correct. The suffix can be either .mp4 or .m4v, what matters is the way the video is encoded.

Now, there are loads of blog and forum posts which give differing advice on presets and parameters, and I’m no expert — so what I’ll do is just show you two quick ways that worked for me (I have a Samsung Galaxy S).

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Making HTML5 Video work on Android phones

I recently became the owner of an Android phone* and found that, despite it being listed as a feature of the browser, the HTML5 video element didn’t work for almost all of the examples I tried. I’ve just done some experimentation with this and think I’ve found a solution, so this post is offered in the hope that it helps anyone who may be tearing their hair out over the same problem.

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Aside

I’ve updated my Speaking page to include more conferences, more videos, and a little on my speaking requirements and preferences. I’m planning to cut down on the number of talks I give in 2014 (twelve is too many), but am always open to interesting offers and opportunities, so please get in touch if you’re organising an event.

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