The video above is something Ricky Cadden from Symbian Guru and I made over 2 years ago, before the iPhone was even released. Until today, I believed stating your mobile browser was based on WebKit meant absolutely nothing since all WebKit browsers rendered websites in the exact same way. Turns out I was wrong, very wrong. Peter-Paul Koch, a freelancer based out of Amsterdam, discovered that if you gathered up all the WebKit based desktop and mobile web browsers out there, you would up having 19 different versions of the WebKit engine. Which one is the best overall? Safari 4.0 for Windows. Which one is the best mobile browser? Safari in iPhone OS 3.1. What about the worst mobile browser? S60 3rd Edition. Second worst mobile browser? S60 5th Edition. Funny considering the fact that Nokia was the first company to even ship a WebKit based browser on a mobile phone. What’s really puzzling is Google. They make both a desktop WebKit based browser called Chrome, and a WebKit based browser for their Android mobile operating system. The fairly recent HTC G2, which some of you may know as the MyTouch, doesn’t even compete with the first version of Google Chrome, which was released in September of 2008!
What this should tell you is the importance of having upgradeable firmware. I’m not talking about issuing a bug fixing ROM, I’m talking about upgrading key components inside a mobile device. One of the most attractive things about the iPhone so far is that people who purchased the very first iPhone over 2 years ago can still run the latest software. The same thing is occurring with popular Android devices getting version 1.6. Several Windows Mobile 6.1 devices are also being upgraded to version 6.5, but what about Nokia? Are you dooming your users to run the same software, which become obsolete the second it leaves the factory, for the rest of their lives?