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Mobile Design and Development by Brian Fling

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Chapter 13. Adapting to Devices

Not all mobile devices are created equal. Thus the age-old problem in mobile design and development: devices can be vastly different from each other. It would be easy if different devices simply supported different attributes—one supports CSS3 and one doesn’t. But it isn’t that easy. One device might support CSS3 and another device might support CSS3 poorly—or worse, incorrectly.

Honestly, this might not be a problem at all if we only had a few platforms or browsers to contend with. For example, how many big desktop platforms are there? Three: Windows, Macintosh, and Linux, with the first two making up almost 95 percent of the market. And how many big desktop web browsers are there? Four: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Opera, with the first two making up nearly 90 percent of the market, the most recent versions of which all pass the Acid2 test for CSS2 support, effectively making them web-standards-compliant.

The mobile industry is an entirely different story altogether. In mobile, you have a half a dozen or so platforms, like the S60, iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and LiMo smartphone platforms, plus a dozen or so feature phone platforms. Add the plethora of mobile web browsers that run on each of these platforms, for which less than 1 percent of all mobile browsers are able to pass the Acid2 test for CSS2 support, for example, and you can start to see that the mobile web is a very fragmented and difficult space to support.

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