Mobile compatibility updates

Yesterday I received a Palm Pre 2, which, after some initial difficulties, I got to work. I combined it with the HTC Smart that I had received earlier, made sure the latest updates to Opera Mobile and Firefox were installed on my trusty Nexus One, and did some testing.

Not everybody will know the HTC Smart, so let me briefly introduce it. Technically it’s a feature phone, and not a smartphone. It runs on the Brew OS (the Brew Mobile Platform even, which is distinct from Brew, but I’m not sure of the details yet). This phone runs the latest Obigo browser, which used to have its own rendering engine but is now WebKit-based. The good people at Obigo wanted to have my opinion, so they sent it on to me.

Incidentally, this brings the number of mobile WebKits I’m aware of to ten: iPhone, Android, Symbian, S40, Dolfin for Samsung bada, BlackBerry, Palm, Phantom by LG, Obigo, and Bolt.

I did the generic WebKit tests in Palm and Obigo first. To my surprise Obigo ended higher than Palm, though it should be remembered that these tests only measure compatibility, and leave ease of use and performance out of the equation.

Incidentally, I am in the process of splitting up my WebKit tests into a mobile and a desktop version. The mobile one is ready, but the desktop one isn’t. See also the original, with older desktop and mobile data.

Then I gritted my teeth and did the viewport tests in all four browsers. This always takes me quite a while, staring at a lot of tiny screens where some incomprehensible numbers are displayed, trying to remember which number is supposed to represent what, and checking if the numbers are roughly correct.

I was pleased to see that Obigo WebKit supports the dimensions of the visual viewport correctly, even though the other three don’t. That brings the number of browsers that support this vital information to six (out of 19).

Also, Obigo WebKit correctly supports all three event coordinates (screenX/Y, clientX/Y, pageX/Y), which makes it only the third browser to do so, after Symbian and S40 WebKits. Opera is cleaning up the mess in this area, but only supports pageX/Y correctly.

Opera Mobile 10.1b now supports the touch events, which I suppose will be rolled out to other OSs pretty soon. The other three browsers don’t, which is a big problem to them.

Palm WebKit supports Flash. That surprised me; I hadn’t read anything about this yet. I played one movie on it, and it worked. The movement was a bit jerky, but since it was an interview that was fine.

All this gives us a little more data on mobile browsers.

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter.
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