A not-so-obvious improvement in iOS 5, which became available publicly today, is a major jump in HTML5 compatibility. InfoWorld saw surprising results in tests of iOS 5's Safari browser against the major mobile and desktop browsers. iOS 5 has 36 percent more HTML5 capabilities baked in than its predecessor iOS 4.3, 33 percent more than the current Android 3.2 "Honeycomb" tablet browser, and 61 percent more than the current Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" smartphone browser. InfoWorld ran the HTML5Test.com suite of HTML5 compatibility tests as part of an in-depth comparison between iOS 5 and the two Android variants.
Those tests also revealed that, in current mobile devices, Android's browsers are the second-least HTML5-compatible of the currently shipping mobile browsers, with iOS 5 in the clear lead, followed by the BlackBerry Browser in Research in Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, then by the essentially tied BlackBerry Browser in the latest BlackBerry 7 smartphones and the HP Web browser in Hewlett-Packard's recently discontinued WebOS-based TouchPad tablet, then by the Android browsers, and then by Palm's discontinued WebOS 2.1 smartphones. The browsers in Windows Phone have even less HTML5 compatibility.
[ See how iOS 5 fares against Android "Honeycomb" and Android "Gingerbread" in InfoWorld's mobile deathmatch comparison. | Get your websites up to speed with HTML5 today using the techniques in InfoWorld's HTML5 Deep Dive PDF how-to report. ]
iOS 5 also performed well in terms of HTML5 compatibility compared to desktop browsers, running slightly behind Mozilla's Firefox 7.1 and just ahead of Apple's desktop Safari 5.1. Google's Chrome 14 remains the most HTML5-compatible browser, with 15 percent more HTML5 capabilities than iOS 5's mobile Safari. iOS 5 was also slightly behind Microsoft's preview edition of Internet Explorer 10 from Windows 8 but had twice as many HTML5 capabilities as the current Internet Explorer 9.