Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Web Development

Allowing the browser on your phone to access the phone camera

Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Web Development

I wrote a blog a while ago about the key differences between mobile websites and mobile applications.

My argument was that for pretty much most requirements, a mobile website was the way to go; mobile websites can do pretty much everything mobile apps can.

And mobile websites have a bunch of inherent upsides including that they’re not an app; they’re part of the web, immediately accessible by anyone that wants it.

One thing that mobile websites have been unable to achieve – unlike mobile applications – is access the hardware and storage of our phones.

Whereas you can browse for files on your desktop PC and upload them to a PC, our smartphones have not had this capability.

Ditto accessing the camera, gyroscope and any other hardware your phone might pack.

Thanks to HTML5 (and this blog arguing that we're not ready for mainstream HTML5 adoption by web developers - a position I am still sticking with), we can tick one of those bits of phone hardware off the list.

In doing some research for a client, I came across an article explaining that in the new iOS 6 (Apple), they have allowed the Safari browser to access the camera: and it works!

It also seems to work on Android, though not Windows Phone 8; this will be just a matter of time.

This is an exciting development for us web developers; it opens a major capability of the mobile web, inching the mobile web experience just that much closer to that of the desktop.