Tizen pops up as HTML5 winner

Still in development, mobile OS scores high on HTML5 test

No one has seen the Tizen mobile platform in action yet, but whatever browser the in-development platform is using has blown away the competition for HTML5 performance.

Listed only as "Tizen 1" on The HTML5 Test (THT) site, the development version of the Tizen browser scored 387 points out of a possible total of 475 points within the mobile phone browser category.

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Even more significant is the fact that this 387 score is not only the highest among the mobile phone browsers, it is the highest score achieved by any browser listed within the test results, topping even the highest-ranked desktop browser for HTML5 performance: Chrome 17.0, which had a score of 374.

According to the site, "[t]he score is calculated by testing for the many new features of HTML5. Each feature is worth one or more points. Apart from the main HTML5 specification and other specifications created the W3C HTML Working Group, this test also awards points for supporting related drafts and specifications. Some of these specifications were initially part of HTML5, but are now further developed by other W3C working groups. WebGL is also part of this test despite not being developed by the W3C, because it extends the HTML5 canvas element with a 3d context."

Presumably the HTML5 data was gathered by developers at Samsung or Intel who pointed the browser at THT to see what the Tizen browser would do. Pretty darn well, it turns out.

As THT emphasizes, just because a given browser can handle HTML5 better is not a direct indicator of its overall performance. With that caveat firmly in place, it's also not beyond the realm of possibility to take away a potentially big clue here.

Though the inner workings of Tizen are still a bit of a mystery to those outside the developer community, it's clear to me that with such high HTML5 compatibility, Tizen is going to be well-positioned as an HTML5-app platform.

The big advantage of HTML5 compatibility is that it lets app developers build one app for multiple platforms. Developers can put them together and deploy them how they wish--they don't have to use an app store if they don't want to. And HTML5 apps can be licensed anyway the developer wants. Native apps have their own advantages, too, like better hardware access and faster speeds. HTML5 is behind enough in these areas that it can make a dent in plans to deploy in the web-based platform, particularly if the app in question is graphic-intense or needs to render data quickly.

If Tizen is indeed going to bet big on the strength of HTML5, as these results seem to indicate, then it could have a serious bootstrap of apps that will help Tizen compete with its more mature competitors, Android and iOS.

The actual product will have to come out, naturally, and consumers will ultimately decide the fate of Tizen. An HTML5-strong platform is intriguing, though, and I am looking forward to seeing how this turns out.

Read more of Brian Proffitt's Zettatag and Open for Discussion blogs and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Drop Brian a line or follow Brian on Twitter at @TheTechScribe. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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