Nook Tablet, Kindle Fire Have Poor HTML5 Support

I was inspired today to play around with the browsers on my 2 new tablets, and a few minutes ago I checked how well they supported HTML5.

HTML5 is the next generation web language. When it is finally adopted, it’s going to bring all sorts of new and shiny possibilities to your familiar websites, including interactivity, embedded audio and video, and other neat features (a lot of which are handled now by Flash and Javascript, so the average user might never notice the switch).

As you can probably guess, almost all the developers working on a browser are keeping an eye on the HTML5 specs. They’re adding more and better support with each release, because after all, HTML5 is the future and they want to be ready. But that doesn’t appear to be happening with these 2 tablets.

Today I directed the browsers on the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet to html5test.com. This is a site that will automatically test any browser when it visits the site and tell you how well it did. The results were not good.

The browser on the Nook Touch scored 177 out of 450.  Yes that’s low, but it’s also the score of the stock web browser on Android v2.3, which suggests that the NT is using the stock browser. Clearly B&N haven’t put any work into this browser beyond adding a new skin.

The Silk browser on the KF is brand new, and you’d think it would have decent HTML5 support. Nope. It scored 196 out of 450. That’s actually not that bad because it puts the KF a step ahead of a lot of generic Android tablets. It also puts the Kindle Fire a step ahead of the Touchpad, which scored 195 on this test.

Now, when to comes to tablets the one with the best HTML5 support is the iPad (running iOS5).That scored 297 out of a possible 450.

You’ll find Opera 11 in a distant second place, and that’s good news for us. We can just download it if we need it (directly from the Opera website, in fact).

It seems that a lot of tablet and mobile browsers have lower scores than desktop browser, and I wonder if that trend will continue? Right now there are a number of sites that won’t work on all devices because of missing support for Flash or some plugin. What do you think the chance is that HTML5 support will eventually be regarded as the bugaboo of mobile browsing that Flash is today?

I still have devices that lack Flash support, BTW. Most are quite usable in all but that one regard.

7 thoughts on “Nook Tablet, Kindle Fire Have Poor HTML5 Support

  1. Well, since the Kindle Fire, the Nook Color, the Nook Tablet, the Android web browser, and the iPad are all WebKit browsers (meaning they are all based on the same rendering engine), I expect you’ll see the others catch up with software updates.

    HTML5 also changes on a weekly basis, something that should be factored in…

  2. Well.. I visited the html5 test site on my two desktop browsers I use at work (corporate environment using XP Pro) and my primary browser Firefox 3.6.24 comes in at 179 + 4 bonus — barely better than the new nook table.. However, I figure up the defacto standard here at work — Internet Explorer 7.0.5730.13C0 that 99% of the company uses and it ranks a pathetic 26 points (no bonus)..

    1. But the difference is you would expect to upgrade those browsers. oh, and FF3.6 is 4 generations out of date (3 years old also), and that’s why it scored so low.

      BTW, later browser will improve the mobile experience, but how many will support older devices? Also, how can you tell that the older devices have the newer browser until they fail for the first time?

  3. My default notebook browser, Opera 12.0/1125, gets 340+9 (though the site says it should get 346), while the browser I use most on my Asus Transformer, Opera Mobile 11.50 gets 285+9 and Opera Mobile Labs gets 305+9. Though I now read most of the web sites I follow in Pulse News (which I read about here), since it gives the best text-and-pics view, without sidebars and such.

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