WebKit: the Browser That Owns the Mobile Internet

Mobile browsers have been around for a long time and have evolved from pretty sucky to providing the “real” Internet in your hand. Taking a look around the mobile browser world there is one observation that is hard to argue against — WebKit browsers are so far ahead of the pack that the rest had better catch up. I’ve played with all of the browsers out there and the WebKit browsers beat the rest hands down when it comes to creating a browsing experience that rivals one on the desktop. If that is the objective, then those browsers not using WebKit had better get busy.

iPhone, Palm Pre
iPhone, Palm Pre

WebKit is the open-source base for the best mobile browsers in the market. Just look at the browser on the Palm (s palm) Pre, Android (s goog), and of course the iPhone (s aapl), and you have to agree that WebKit is the cat’s meow. The other browsers out there don’t come close to putting full, complicated web pages on the small phone screen. Opera Mobile tries hard but still falls short.

Now I wouldn’t go as far as Gizmodo and state that all other browsers had better adopt WebKit or go away. There are better mobile browsers, like Opera Mini, for non-touchscreen phones that are faster on those types of phones and optimized for using phone buttons to control. There are also server-based browsers like Skyfire that are pretty darn good, too. Competition is always a good thing and it’s better to have choices out there. Mozilla is hard at work on the Fennec browser which will add spice to the mobile web, too.

I wouldn’t say that all developers working on mobile browsers should stop what they’re doing and adopt WebKit for their product. Only the developers can know how much sense that makes or not. But I will state emphatically that your target is very well-defined with WebKit and you’d better catch up or pass it pretty soon. So far, everything else falls short.