YouTube recently released their new HTML5 browser-based mobile application for smartphones. OK, it's really just an iPhone App that runs on Mobile Safari meant to play video much better than the one Apple built into their devices. And it does exactly that.
The new mobile YouTube website (m.youtube.com) functions like a much smaller YouTube. Sounds obvious enough, but those of you who have used Apple's stock YouTube App on their iPhones know that it feels nothing like YouTube. It gets by doing what it has to do, and not much else.
The HTML5-based site that YouTube launched incorporates all the features that make YouTube the site it is. A lot of these, such as commenting, are available on Apple's App, but they feel so half-hearted and out of the way compared to the new site. The Apple App opens a new page every time you want to do something, like read or leave comments, while this App streamlines the process into one page.
Leaving Comments is streamlined in the YouTube Mobile App
The biggest difference, as most users have been noticing is the quality of the video. This site shines when used over a cellular network. Have a look at the images below:
Apple's App over 3G
YouTube's App Over 3G (HQ On)
Above, you can see both Apps over 3G. YouTube offers the HQ (High Quality) option, which gives a noticeably clearer picture. The Apple App doesn't have this option. Know that turning off HQ will yield results similar to the Apple App.
Loading times for HQ weren't horribly slow over 3G. While definitely slower than a low quality video, the enhanced picture more than makes up for the load time. (Also know that when viewing over wifi, Apple's application will show in HQ as well).
The YouTube App gives you all the necessary options, which are pictured below.
One of the most interesting things we found was that upon directing your phone's browser to the mobile site, you prompted to add the application to your Home Screen by hitting the plus sign. This will put a shortcut with the YouTube icon on your desktop. This is a move that is likely to convince users to replace their Apple YouTube App with the browser-based App.
YouTube Asks You to Add Their App to Your Home Screen
One of the greatest things about having the option to use YouTube in a browser window is that we can now type in landscape, which the stock iPhone App didn't let us do. It's also nice that everything plays within one application. The iPhone no longer jumps between the YouTube App and Mobile Safari when we want to play a video.
Put bluntly, YouTube's new mobile site destroys the one Apple stocks with the iPhone, if for video quality alone. Go to m.YouTube.com and add the icon to your desktop, you won't need the native YouTube App anymore.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5