Mobility for the Web, No Rascal Required
The mobile device market over the past few years has been largely defined by mobile operating system-specific apps. Want to see a video of an extremely happy goose? Load up your Youtube app, unique to your specific device. Want to browse some recipes? Download a unique app for your device for your favorite cooking site. How about some shopping? There are apps galore for online retailers!
This isn't how the Internet works on our computers. Imagine loading up the Amazon.com application on your home computer every time you want to browse Amazon.com. We're okay with doing this sort of thing on mobile phones because websites either have outdated mobile implementations (see WAP sites [Wireless Application Protocol]) or take too long too render fully. With mobile phones now responsible for enormous amounts of web traffic, it's strange that mobile sites haven't been updated, opting instead for OS-locked apps.
In defiance of the common apps-only mentality, a new version of Youtube mobile launched this week, employing HTML5 standards to craft a mobile site that isn't hideous and works on modern HTML5-compliant mobile browsers. Video on Youtube's mobile site is compressed in the 3GP format, a video standard for 3G mobile phones. The result is a streamlined interface perfect for a mobile phone - be it an iPhone, an Android, a Palm, or future devices like Windows Phone 7. With luck, this move will spur on other sites to re-invigorate their mobile web development.