By 2016, more than 2.1 billion mobile devices will have HTML5 browsers, up from just 109 million in 2010.

While the official line from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is that the HTML5 standard won’t be complete until 2020, ABI Research believes 25 HTML5 features currently in development will become widely used at varying intervals within the next three to five years.

“We expect HTML5 features in such categories as graphics, multimedia, user interactions, data storage and others to be widely adopted sooner rather than later,” says Mark Beccue, senior analyst at the firm. “HTML5 adoption is going to accelerate because it will be a key differentiator in the smartphone OS war. I believe that Apple will be the key driver of HTML5 and, consequently, a primary benefactor as well.”

Apple’s competitive edge stems from vision and its lack of fragmentation. “The key to HTML5 growth is browser capabilities.  Apple will quickly develop HTML5 features capabilities for their browsers and be able to easily push those updates out to their devices,” Beccue adds. “Android does not have the capabilities to move so quickly. BlackBerry has market share, but their installed base of phones with HTML5 capable browsers are limited.”

One important HTML5 feature – video — is making a play to challenge the popular Adobe Flash Player plug-in software. The feature would allow video to stream without the necessity of activating a plug-in. While industry discussions of Flash’s disappearance generally conclude that Flash will not be phased out any time soon, Beccue thinks differently.
“I think the disappearance of Flash is closer than people think,” he predicts.

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