Mobile
Commentary
1/30/2007
09:28 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary
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And Away We SVGo!

Yesterday in NYC the Mobile Monday organization hosted a half-day seminar on scalable vector graphics (SVG). According to the fine collection of speakers the little group huddled at the Samsung Experience had the pleasure of listening to, this tiny little computer language is promising to revolutionize the mobile web experience. Some day. The take-away message for the afternoon was: SVG is grrrrrrate!

Yesterday in NYC the Mobile Monday organization hosted a half-day seminar on scalable vector graphics (SVG). According to the fine collection of speakers the little group huddled at the Samsung Experience had the pleasure of listening to, this tiny little computer language is promising to revolutionize the mobile web experience. Some day.

The take-away message for the afternoon was: SVG is grrrrrrate!Let's be fair. As cool as it is, browsing the Web on a mobile handset can be downright infuriating. Yes, smartphones have decent processors, and the wireless operators have spent untold billions of lighting up high-speed data networks, but the mobile Internet experience is still in its infancy -- and danged aggravating at times. HSDPA and EV-DO aside, the reality is, if you navigate to a graphics-heavy page, you're basically screwed.

Though the speakers were slightly self-congratulatory at times (i.e., not humble at all) about their tiny little computer language, it does look like SVG will have the power to make web browsing on mobile devices somewhat easier by, ahem, scaling the graphical elements on each web page to a more usable size. The chief benefit is the size of the code. It's teeny tiny. It'll fit in the darndest of places, on silicon large and small, in devices old and new.

One company, Opera, uses the code as part of its mini browser. Between both of Opera's browsers, they've seen 80 million copies downloaded onto desktops, laptops, smartphones, GameBoys and more. Other companies like Ikiko and Vodafone have already built the SVG engine into their soon-to-be-released products. There are definitely companies already banking their existence on the success of SVG. Too bad no one knows about it, it's hardly deployed, and barely supported.

Our friends in Redmond don't think SVG is vital yet, because IE7 can't handle it. Even the Mozilla team aren't on board, because Firefox can't dig it either.

Lack of support aside, the future is somewhat bullish for SVG. Anything that will help speed up mobile web browsing and make it less painful is a good thing in my eyes.

God speed, SVG, God speed.

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