Agony of Mobile Browser Choice

Posted

I have a dilemma coming. Its the classic native vs web argument but with a new slant. That old argument was always phrased hypothetically pitching a generic phone platform versus a non-specific browser. Reality is not that simple.

With a new phone in mind, this dilemma has been simmering for a while, then I read the excellent post, ‘The web on my phone’ by Adactio and it prompted me to get this post down.

The Mobile OS vs Browser Choices

iOS

First choice is an iPhone. Especially with the newly launched iPhone SE within my price range, hand span and jeans pockets. However right now to me, it is the least interesting browser.

Webkit is also the only rendering engine you can find on iOS, the only one allowed. The current browser choices are just different wrappings.

Interestingly the theme of other posts I have read and how I feel, is wanting Safari to get better, faster. This desire maybe winning out the calls for a competing browser, but as time passes those calls will get louder. Improve or step aside.

Its a real shame considering how Apple first heralded web apps. The App store is too big to ignore and I suppose web apps take a back seat to that.

Android

Chrome is the obvious choice for cutting-edge web features.

Googles survival depends on the continued use of the web or at least search, the ad revenue which funds everything else they do. They have a vested interest in ensuring this continues.

You also have the benefit of having other browsers and rendering engines. I particularly want to try the Wildcard browser, even just the once.

Things on the horizon also interest me such as the physical web and web VR.

The major hangup right now is security, I long had my doubts and continue to hear troubling things regarding the OS, security and updates there of. I feel Google could stand to know a little less about each of us too.

WP10 Mobile

I have to respect Microsoft and the team they hired for Edge and the ground they have made up in such short time. I like the the browser chrome, which is very Metro looking. They are adding features and are focused on speed and remaining light weight. Theres also some interesting integrations with Edge and Cortana (I don’t know if this is the case on the phone yet) and the Live Tiles.

Theres one hold up and that is the perception that they are out of the mobile race and devs will continue to ignore Edge Mobile users and site issues experienced by them.

Mobile Browsers Get Better! Equally!

Its ridiculous that you have to make a mobile OS choice where the web is involved, it is the ultimate agnostic platform. I suppose the alternative title to this post should be ’Mobile Browsers Get Better! Equally!’.

Where we are getting to a point of experience harmony on the desktop. You can pick any OS and a browser and get nearly the same experience. The tipping point of people using the web more via their mobile than desktop was reached last year. However the mobile experience comes with familiar problems of the past and choices to make of how thoroughly you want to experience the web going forward.

UPDATE: Opera has used mobile Safaris recent issues to highlight the problems caused by browser restrictions. In response to recent criticism of slow progress, Apple has released Safari Technology Preview, a continually up-to-date dev browser version of Safari.

All Posts