[Proposal] "device-type" Media Query

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[Proposal] "device-type" Media Query

Brian-346
This would be my first foray into mailing lists, so if I'm "doing it wrong", allow me to apologize.

With all of the attention being given to responsive design approaches, I could not help but wonder what will happen in as little as a few years. Smartphones will likely have resolutions that will either rival or supersede present-day laptop resolutions, so our approach of detecting screen resolution and/or pixel density will be useless as a means to detect form factor. What we need in a media query is the ability to detect a true form factor, a "device-type" if you will, something along the lines of the "handheld" query of HTML4 lore.

We could potentially make an effort to revive the "handheld" query, along with a new "tablet" query as well, but I'm afraid that relying on browser implementation alone is risky. If there's a way to engage browsers in a way that gives them a disadvantage for _not_ implementing it, that may be preferable.

I would love more discussion on this topic, and if I'm completely out of the loop on something that makes this a non-issue, I'd love to be enlightened. :)

Thanks,
--
Brian Irish
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Re: [Proposal] "device-type" Media Query

Brian-346
As a supplement to my initial email, allow me to provide a use case where current media queries prove inadequate:

Assume a few years in the future, Google has released the "Universe Nexus X" with a brand new screen with 1600x900 resolution. How does Joe Developer write a responsive approach to his new app, "Joe Gets Things Done"? Depending on screen resolutions is no longer an option, as some desktop computer monitors have widths smaller than 1600px. Perhaps combining screen resolution detection with a higher pixel density detection, Joe can optimize for the latest smartphones? This seems, at best, a far too complicated form factor detection solution.

Joe needs to know if the user is viewing his page on a small mobile phone screen, or a larger computer monitor, and due to the now overlapping resolutions of both, current media queries are an inadequate solution. If he were able to use a "device-type" to properly detect the form factor of his app's visitors, he could target "handheld" devices, "tablet" devices, "projection" devices, "tv" devices, etc.

I have that sinking feeling that I'm missing something crucial to the problem, which solves it entirely, or proves that it's a non-issue. Looking for some kind of validation to this use case! :)

Thanks again,
--
Brian Irish


On Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 12:17 PM, Brian <[hidden email]> wrote:
This would be my first foray into mailing lists, so if I'm "doing it wrong", allow me to apologize.

With all of the attention being given to responsive design approaches, I could not help but wonder what will happen in as little as a few years. Smartphones will likely have resolutions that will either rival or supersede present-day laptop resolutions, so our approach of detecting screen resolution and/or pixel density will be useless as a means to detect form factor. What we need in a media query is the ability to detect a true form factor, a "device-type" if you will, something along the lines of the "handheld" query of HTML4 lore.

We could potentially make an effort to revive the "handheld" query, along with a new "tablet" query as well, but I'm afraid that relying on browser implementation alone is risky. If there's a way to engage browsers in a way that gives them a disadvantage for _not_ implementing it, that may be preferable.

I would love more discussion on this topic, and if I'm completely out of the loop on something that makes this a non-issue, I'd love to be enlightened. :)

Thanks,
--
Brian Irish