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Safari Quirksmode measured the CSS and JavaScript compatibility of 19 different WebKit based browsers.  The conclusion?  All 10 mobile WebKits the study's author has identified are subtly or wildly different, meaning there's no singular "WebKit on Mobile".  Quirksmode sums that thought up, saying "This is not consistency; it’s thinly veiled chaos."

Indeed. So how does Palm's WebKit-based browser compare to the others?

Please note while taking in the following data that the testing was done for compatibility.  Other factors, notably user interface and performance, have been left out of the equation.

Here's the criterion for inclusion of the tests used in the study:

My main criterion for test inclusion was that a certain method, property, or declaration must be supported by at least two WebKits, but not by all. I made an exception for geolocation, since it’s so totally crucial for the mobile platform. (Geolocation is currently supported only by iPhone 3.1)

Here's how the Pre's browser measures up against some of its biggest WebKit based competitors:

iPhone 3.1

iPhone OS 3.1 does a bang up job as far as  standards compliance is concerned, certainly leaving some space for improvement for webOS.  iPhone OS3.1 even scores 100 on the Acid3 test, a test that WebKit on webOS is incapable of even taking.


 G2 (Android 1.5)

It's a similar story for the G2.


G1 (Android 1.0)

 And it seems that the Pre's browser just edges out the G1.

Here's how all of the WebKit based browsers tested compare:

It looks like Palm certainly has some work to do in terms of web standards compatibility on its flavor of WebKit, but it looks like it gets many of the important ones right.

And to reiterate, lack of compliance doesn't necessarily correlate to a lesser user experience, as Quirksmode points out:

S60v3 WebKit, which is by far the worst-scoring one, at least has a workable user interface, something that much-higher scoring WebKits such as Iris don’t.

For more on how the different variations of webkit based browsers stack up, check out the full study.

Thanks James McP