HTML5 will bring about a dramatic revolution in mobile computing

The next generation of HTML – known as HTML5 – will bring about a dramatic revolution in the way computing will come off the desktop and go mobile. According to a report from research analysts McKinsey: “The next generation of the Internet standard essentially will allow programs to run through a Web browser rather than a specific operating system.

That means consumers will be able to access the same programs and cloud-based content from any device—personal computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet—because the browser is the common platform.

This ability to work seamlessly anytime, anywhere, on any device could change consumer behaviour and shift the balance of power in the mobile-telecommunications, media, and technology industries. It will create opportunities and present challenges.“

The report entitled “How new Internet standards will finally deliver a mobile revolution” goes on to say: “The next generation of HTML, known as HTML5, may narrow these differences between mobile devices. HTML5, the most significant evolution yet in Web standards, is designed to allow programs to run through a Web browser, complete with video and other multimedia content that today require plug-in software and other work-arounds.

In theory, this will make the browser a universal computing platform: without leaving it, users could do everything from editing documents to accessing social networks, watching movies, playing games, or listening to music. Not only would any device with a Web browser have these capabilities, but consumers would also have access to all content stored remotely “in the cloud,” independent of locations and devices.

“That’s the first reason Web-centricity holds particular promise for mobile devices. The second is that it helps overcome the relatively weak processing power of smartphones and tablets compared with PCs and laptops. It’s partly this lack of horsepower that has fuelled the explosive growth in applications (or “apps”) to optimize the performance of specific devices: the average smartphone user now spends more than 11 hours a month using apps, more time than either Web browsing or talking, according to a March 2011 study by research firm Zokem.

“HTML5 has the potential to improve the mobile experience—its specifications enable browsers to locally store 1,000 times more data than they currently do, so users can work when offline—writing e-mails, for example—and their devices will automatically update when a network becomes available. What’s more, programs and applications run faster because complex processing tasks are handled by network servers, although mobile-network capacity must go on growing to deal with heavier data demands.”

Read the full report here.

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Kevin Tea is a journalist and marketing communications professional who has worked for some of the leading blue chip companies in the UK and Europe. In the 1990s he became interested in how emerging Internet-based technologies could change the way that people worked and became an administrator on the Telework Europa Forum on CompuServe. With other colleagues he took part in a four year European Commission sponsored project to look at the way that the Internet could benefit remote communities. His blog is a resource for SMEs who want to use cloud computing and Web 2.0 technologies.