Mobile browsers beat desktop browsers in CSS3 support?

HTML5 is a set of the latest and greatest features of the web. However, as a web developer, it isn’t really viable to make a site which uses these features without proper browser support. Because HTML 5 is a big vague, let’s check which percentage of browsers support CSS3:

Desktop
IE9 8.72%
Firefox 22.48%
Chrome 16.20%
Safari 5.02%
Opera 1.67%
Total 54.09%

Source: netmarketshare.com

Mobile / tablet
Safari 55.59%
Android browser 10.9%
Total 66.49%

Source: netmarketshare.com

The 66.49% is even a pessimistic estimation as BlackBerry OS 6+ support CSS3 and modern Symbian phones support it too.

This means that mobile browsers are more likely to support CSS3 than desktop browsers. This could be explained that most people surf the web with the default browser installed on their device, and people buy a new phone more often than they buy a new desktop.

Old mobile browsers

Traditionally, creating websites for mobile phones has been about using as little as fancy HTML + CSS as possible. For example: W3C mobileOK checker, gives warnings about using float in CSS, using javascript or using PNG’s. This is because the mobileOK checker still assumes mobile phones could have really lousy browsers.

When we look at the percentage of potential bad browsers, there is Symbian (4.70%), Proprietary or Undetectable (0.37%), ACCESS NetFront (0.28%) and Obigo (0.11%). This adds up to 5.46%. However, Symbian browsers have improved a lot over the last couple of years, so the percentage of really bad mobile browsers is most likely a lot less than 5.46% and this figure will decline even further in the future.

Conclusion

I’d say that creating a mobile website today is completely different than before or what W3C still lets us believe. Instead of avoiding PNG’s, using CSS3 makes more sense. However, you’ll still need to add fallbacks or make sure it looks good without it.

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