Canvas smartphone support hits 100%, video slightly behind

Microsoft has finally given a date for the release of Windows Phone 7.5, also known as Mango. The update will start rolling out “in the next week or two”, depending on operator and hardware vendor processes. Hopefully it won’t be long until all Windows Phone 7 devices have been updated to Mango.

Windows Phone 7 is a fluid and appealing operating system, but that’s not why I’m posting about it. Mango’s release is significant for web developers because it includes Internet Explorer 9 and hence substantial improvements to HTML5 compatibility.

This calls for celebration: with Mango joining the fray, all currently shipping smartphone operating systems now have support for the <canvas> element! This means you can design animations in Radi using Canvas and deploy on mobile without worrying about missing API support.

The complete list of mobile platforms with Canvas support is as follows:

  • Apple iOS
  • Google Android
  • RIM BlackBerry (since OS 6)
  • Opera Mobile + Mini
  • HP webOS
  • Samsung Bada
  • Nokia Symbian (since Anna release)
  • Microsoft Windows Phone 7 (since Mango release)

I’m hoping to do some performance testing with Canvas on the latest mobile platforms to support it, Symbian ‘Anna’ and Windows Phone 7 ‘Mango’. Stay tuned…

The situation with the <video> element, also part of HTML5, looks nearly as good. Mango has added support, and it should be able to leverage the H.264 video decoding acceleration available on all Windows Phone 7 devices for smooth playback with minimum impact on battery life. (Of course iOS and Android already do this, AFAIK, but it’s great that Microsoft offers the same level of functionality.)

Unfortunately Symbian still doesn’t support <video>, even though the recent ‘Anna’ update did a pretty good job of modernizing the browser otherwise.

(As an aside, Nokia’s decision to fork WebKit back in 2005 was a pretty bone-headed move. The resulting Nokia S60 browser was decent for the time, but quickly fell behind as Apple and Google rapidly pushed the mobile browsing state of the art forward. Nokia was stuck maintaining their own messy branch at a snail’s pace while upstream WebKit zipped ahead. The Symbian browser is still catching up from this mess. Unfortunately this was only the tip of the iceberg of Nokia’s broken software development processes… I’m glad they finally saw the writing on the wall, gave up and switched to Windows Phone 7. Well, I digress.)

There is another Symbian update coming shortly. The codename is Belle, and it will ship on a handful of mid-range devices within the next month or two. (The update will later become available for earlier Nokia Symbian devices back to the N8.)

I couldn’t any info yet about whether Belle supports <video> or not… But hopefully there will soon be another virtual-champagne-popping post on this blog, as I celebrate 100% support for <video> on smartphones.

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2 Responses to Canvas smartphone support hits 100%, video slightly behind

  1. needsound says:

    Hi, what about sound support? Is it as good as on the desktop?

    • pauli says:

      There is a very useful mobile HTML5 compatibility table at They don’t separate video and audio HTML5 support, though…

      If their info is right, <audio> is supported everywhere where <video> is, which means that only Symbian and Opera Mini don’t have support.

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