iOS 5's Safari beats all mobile browsers in HTML5 compatibility

New mobile OS for the iPad and iPhone also posts better HTML5 numbers than Internet Explorer 9 and Safari on the desktop

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 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. The table below shows all the results.

[ 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.

OSBrowserHTML5 score
Mobile browsers
iOS 5.0Safari296
iOS 4.3



Android 3.2 "Honeycomb"


Android 2.3 "Gingerbread"


BlackBerry OS 7BlackBerry Browser230
BlackBerry Tablet OS (QNX)BlackBerry Browser257
WebOS 3.0 (HP TouchPad)HP Web229
WebOS 2.1 (Palm smartphones)Browser155
Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango"Internet Explorer 9140
Windows Phone 7Internet Explorer 725
Desktop browsers

Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Windows 7

Chrome 14.0.835.202340

Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Windows 7

Firefox 7.01313

Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Windows 7

Safari 5.1293
Windows 7Internet Explorer 9141
Windows 8 previewInternet Explorer 10 preview300

This article, "iOS 5's Safari beats all mobile browsers in HTML5 compatibility," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in business technology news and get a digest of the key stories each day in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.