W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > December 2007

Re: About media=handheld?

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2007 02:43:12 -0800
Cc: public-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <5DB13D09-76B5-4108-BA92-3E1C3A65D61C@apple.com>
To: Yann <yann.hamon@gmail.com>

On Nov 30, 2007, at 5:15 AM, Yann wrote:

> Hello list,
> Yann Hamon - long time subscriber, first time contributor ( I am ont  
> of the "invited experts").
> I just wanted to raise my concerns that I see more and more websites  
> developed especially for... the iphone, and other mobile devices.  
> The french website http://www.liberation.fr/  recently developed http://iphone.liberation.fr/ 
>  (sigh) - and a lot more are going the same way.

The iPhone generally supports the "screen" media type rather than  
"handheld". There's a few tradeoffs here:

1) Unaware Websites don't cater to handhelds at all. If one of them  
happened to specify "screen" media type instead of none, then the  
iPhone version of Safari would miss out out styles.

2) Aware websites often assume a media type of "handheld" means very  
small screen and extremely limited capabilities. So frequently you get  
a worse experience with "handheld" styles than with "screen" styles  
plus zooming.

3) Highly aware websites tend to specialize for iPhone and other high- 
capability mobile web devices using mechanisms other than just basic  
media type.

I think "handheld" vs "screen" is just not a useful distinction any  
more. iPhone has 480x320 screen resolution, and other phones are  
achieving even higher pixel densities. The Asus Eee PC offers 800x480.  
The Nokia 770 also has 800x480. At this point it's hard to say what's  
"handheld" and what is "screen". What we increasingly see is not a  
sharp distinction between computer and mobile device but rather a  
continuum of computing devices of varying sizes and capabilities.

I think CSS media queries to target content based on actual screen  
size is the best option today. Perhaps in the future we will also want  
some way to detect the general type of input device and adjust layout  
or behavior based on that.

Received on Monday, 3 December 2007 10:43:31 UTC

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