updated 10:25 am EST, Wed February 23, 2011
Android 2.3.3 first to get mobile WebM video
Google as part of its new Android 2.3.3 update has fulfilled a promise to add WebM support. A video chart shows that the Nexus S, Nexus One and future Android 2.3 phones like the Xperia Play will now play the semi-open video standard when it comes up in an HTML5 page or by itself. Its OS will represent the first mobile platform to support the codec.
The company has been self-contradictory in the move and didn't remove H.264 as it did with Chrome. On the desktop, Google argued that it wanted to promote self-proclaimed open standards by supporting WebM exclusively for HTML5 video. The company may have had to keep H.264 out of necessity, since no Android phone can record video in WebM and thus couldn't play back their own clips on the web or offline. Most mobile video sites are also optimized for the iPhone or iPad and have no alternative for WebM.
The company also paradoxically noted that Android 3.0 tablets like the Xoom will be gaining support for more H.264 support through support for encoding in the camcorder-friendly AVC spec.
Apple, HP, Microsoft, and other phone OS developers have mostly steered clear of WebM due to possible patent disputes over its similarity to H.264.