Mobilism 2011: Brian Leroux and The Browser Panel

Dear reader, As a way to both pay attention and have a good record of the proceedings, I like to type out transcriptions/paraphrases of conference sessions. Here is my transcription/paraphrase for Brian Leroux’s After HTML5 and the Mobile Browser Panel at Mobilism 2011. – Ms. Jen
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Brian Leroux – After HTML5
Mobile Browser Panel

Brian Leroux – After HTML5
Device APIs -> Making computers aware
What does HTML5 mean?
Bunch of ideas and parts that are really exciting
Brian’s fave: Installable web apps -> chromeless browser
Brian goes on to show photos of bears with hockey players and talk about device APIs used by Phone Gap.
Impl -> lists the various SDKs that are using web as the basis for creating apps (like Phone Gap, Nokia WRT, Qt Mobility, etc.). Making the web a first class platform for mobile software development.
Shows how Phone Gap uses Weinre ( to debut.
Weinre can be used with any website, not just Phone Gap.
Antony Ribot – Devices, Designs and Enabling Behaviors
Ribot – Ideas lab for small screen devices
iPhone has been great for the mobile industry, it has education for people
The iPhone is a pen knife rather than a chopstick
Class is not over
Of all folks who have mobile
68% sent an SMS
38% have a mobile with a browser
The iPhone revolution has not happened to many people: High cost barrier, not simple enough
In the UK, 60% of purchasing decision is based on cost of the device
Who is the iPhone not simple enough for?
Aging Population
Low income
Transitions of Interaction
How do we make things more physical?
Audio input
Haptic feedback (Antony thinks is quite crude)
Designing for inclusivity
Designing for Independence, Engagement, and task oriented behaviors
The home phone in the UK :
a 70yr needs double the size of a 20 yr for fonts and screens
Food packaging – milk jug handle has been redesigned several times
dexterity impairments – the ‘Pinch’ of pinch / zoom can be painful for some folks
Cordless kettle: initially designed for elderly people, now it has become a design standard.
Why create this products?
Enables other actions
Feeds our habits
Re-use learnt behaviors
Re-use real-world actions
The Case Study:
Tesco – mass market shopping experience
Threedom – improve touchscreen phones for dexterity impaired folks
We discovered, whoever you are, you want…
Independence, Simplicity, Connection
Ribot create a three button phone enabling people to text, call, browse, play music, camera.
About to launch the alpha, looking for feedback.
Mobile Browser Panel
Andrea Trasati (Nokia), Eli Fidler (RIM), and Andreas Bovens (Opera)
Moderated by Jerely Keith
Live-streamed on
First the panelists talked about the various browsers now in use and what is in the immediate future. Nokia will be supporting webkit and the Ovi browser in the future, IE will be taken care of by Microsoft. Opera has Opera Mobile and Opera Mini. Blackberry
Device APIs – we web developers, we want access. We want access to the camera, address books, etc.
Nokia has had device APIs for years, but it was not standardized. WRT is web technology. Qt Mobility uses Qt as a shell and then uses the Qt webkit.
Opera – this is hard. We tried with widgets. It is not so easy. A. Bovens then talks about committees, politics and specifications of trying to allow device API access.
RIM/Blackberry is in a similar situation as Nokia and Opera. RIM works with the upstream webkit code base, what they are using we will allow in the browser. With us, once we ship something, we are stuck with it forever. Unlike Opera, we can’t put things in dev and tell folks to download it. We have support everything we ship.
What about video?
Nokia browser does not support embedded HTML5. We are also supporting Flash. One of the reasons is chips and hardware for now.
Opera – on desktop we have support over the air/inline, on mobile we support webm not over the air. On mobile some code in the browser will launch the native video player. We don’t have inline video play as it is a hardware and technology issue. Flash is the only choice for inline right now.
Blackberry – 6.0 does not support HTML5 video element, but the Playbook is. Like Opera, we hand it off to the native system video player. Embedding HTML5 video works very well in the Playbook.
A little CSS declaration: position:fixed; Android is supporting it – announced at Google I/O
RIM – in the Blackberry 6.0 there was a hack & it does not work well. On the Playbook, yes it does work.
Opera – in the same way (as RIM), when it is fixed it is stuck to the page and when you move…
Jeremy: is it really that hard?
Opera – Yes, it really is that hard… discussion on how & why (sorry not typing fast enough) There is a lot of calculations to be done there. The developers are working on it, it is not that far away.
Nokia – in 7.3, yes, it is coming soon (in Symbian Anna?).
Blackberry – Let me add to it… Right now mobile browser zooming is a layer on top of existing web standards
Jeremy then asks about Opera’s specific: @viewport
Opera – Andreas is deep in discussion. Patrick Lauke has been experiment on working on conditional media queries.
Andrea T – You must use server side, which is why viewport is becoming a monster. I am not wary of it, as we (Nokia) will have it in 7.3. But does it work? There are funny pages that define width and then there is a fixed width for iPhone and things look odd.
Opera’s Andreas – We have had the same problem. It looks funny.
RIM – We support the viewport meta type, but we don’t support the CSS. The meta tag is turning in a bit of a disaster, as Apple over specified the spec, and now it has gone around the web when people copy and pasted the code.
Audience Q: The Nokia browser update: when & for what devices?
Nokia – the browser update will be for all Symbian^3 devices & S60v3 & S60v5. For Symbian^3 it will be pushed as a suggested OS update, for S60 it will be browser only.
RIM – We don’t usually update. More talk.. audience laughs.
Opera – the Android market pushes updates.
Audience Q: Questioner talks about type on Mobile