March 23, 2013

HTML5 Week in Review

This past week the HTML5 sector was busy as always, with news about the Google (News Alert) Chromebook, Wyplay’s new Android platform, an accounting software startup favoring native apps, and more.

First up, Google updated the Chrome OS dev channel to version 27.0.1438.8, applicable to all Chrome devices. The major feature added in this update is a form of preliminary HTML5 DRM. As Chrome OS runs on both ARM and x86 devices, this is actually the first occurrence of HTML5 DRM on x86 machines.

Called Widevine (NewsAlert) Content Decryption Module, this DRM enables Widevine licenses for the playback of HTML5 audio or video content. This technology also relies on the latest HTML5 Encrypted Media Extensions, a set of APIs that control protected content playback.

In other Chrome news, the latest ARM-based Samsung Chromebook now has proper Netflix access. Typically, Netflix uses Microsoft’s (News Alert) Silverlight to stream its content, but since this technology isn’t available to Chromebook users, Netflix has enabled HTML5 streaming for the devices. This is a big step forward in terms of accessibility for the streaming service.

Meanwhile, Wyplay this week launched a next generation HTML5 Android platform designed for set-top box manufacturers, RCU companies and third-party software vendors. This TV reference platform leverages the Wyplay Middleware platform, Android and an HTML5 user interface to address TV operator needs. This new platform runs on ST and Broadcom (News Alert) chipsets, making it accessible to the majority of operators.

While many companies are embracing HTML5, some are moving away from it. For example, Xero this week decided to switch to an entirely native app approach going forward, stating that the development of HTML5 for mobile Web apps is too resource intensive and difficult to justify pursuing further. Xero is a developer of accounting software.

“The choice to go with HTML5 was very much a choice based on us — how do we use the skills we already have to build a mobile application? Unfortunately as the application grew we needed to hire to fill out the team, and we were never able to hire fast enough to fill those roles. Ironically those skills were equally as critical for the ‘desktop’ version of Xero — we were cannibalizing our own team and slowing everything down,” Xero explained in a blog post.

Finally, Telerik released the latest version of Kendo UI, a comprehensive framework for building JavaScript and HTML5 websites and apps, this week. This release sports a number of new features, including new Web and DataViz UI widgets, server-side PHP and JSP wrappers, support for modern Web Single Page Applications (SPAs) architecture, and full support for Windows Phone (NewsAlert) 8.

Support for WP8 is the most significant addition as few are developing for the platform currently, putting Kendo UI at the forefront of HTML5 development for Microsoft’s latest mobile OS.

That’s all for this week. Be sure to check out the main HTML5 Report page for more news.


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